CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — An investigation has widened into suspected toxic dumping on Long Island, after another public park tested positive for hazardous materials.
As CBS 2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported Friday, photos obtained exclusively by CBS 2 showed pieces of hazardous asbestos discovered in yet another Islip town ballfield.
“We don’t know, at this point, the origin of this pile and this asbestos,” said Islip Town Board Member Anthony Senft Jr.
The latest discovery at PAL Fields on Clayton Avenue in Central Islip follows multiple others. Last week, Suffolk County District Attorney Tom Spota announced that about 1,100 tractor-trailer truckloads of contaminated debris were dumped at Roberto Clemente Park in Brentwood. The park has since been closed to the public.
Earlier this week, asbestos was also found on privately owned land at Route 111 and Sage Street, Spota said.
Officials said contamination may also have been found in a third park on East View Drive, WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall reported.
The Town of Islip revealed Friday that it will now test the soil in all 107 of its parks.
Town officials also have been fending off criticism that they should have responded earlier to dumping complaints. They said the state Department of Environmental Conservation found no problems at Roberto Clemente Park back in January.
“There’s no question we could have done things better, but the town of Islip is a victim of a crime,” Senft said. “We have been devastated by the criminal conduct of those contractors who came into Brentwood and dumped garbage in our parks.”
But community members said they are the victims. PAL Fields is now closed, and the safety of hundreds of other ballfields in question.
“We are hoping they do the right thing — go in there, and clean it out, and get those fields going,” said Joe Hennie of the Central Islip Little League.
As the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office investigates who is responsible, computers and records have been seized at the headquarters of Datre Companies in alleged connection with the dumping.
Tom Datre Sr. and Clara Datre, both prominent political contributors, own a building company. They said their name has been dragged through the mud in a political witch hunt.
“We were never at that site,” said Datre Sr., owner of Daytree at Courtland Square. “We never dumped anything at that site. We never hauled anything to that site.”
They tearfully defended their son, Tom Datre Jr., who runs a trucking company — a separate entity that did deliver fill to the park.
“He has told us, ‘I would never do anything like this,’” said Clara Datre.
“It might have been his trucks bringing stuff in some other trucks, my son would never, ever, in his life, ever do something like that,” Tom Datre Sr. said.
Tom Datre Jr. told CBS 2: “Our intentions were pure. We delivered only legal, permissible fill to the park …under the supervision of Town officials.”
The other town parks in Islip will remain open while air and soil testing continues. Town officials said they are focusing first on the dozen or so parks that were most recently renovated.
The investigation is moving beyond the town of Islip. The Suffolk District Attorney’s office also began testing the soil Friday in a residential community built for veterans in Islandia.
Results in the Islandia case could take three to four weeks.
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