MELVILLE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Another case of illegal dumping has been uncovered on Long Island.
Investigators confirmed a part of West Hills County Park in Melville is severely contaminated with hundreds of truckloads of acutely hazardous, illegally dumped construction materials, WCBS 880’s Mike Xirinachs reported. Toxins including pesticides banned for use since the 1980s, PCBs, metals, volatile organic compounds and asbestos were found, Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota said.
The dangerous chemicals were found in and around the Sweet Hills Riding Center, which occupies nearly 9 acres of the 900-acre park and houses a summer day camp and horse stable, Spota said.
CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reports parents are being warned their children may have come in contact with the cancer-causing chemicals. Spota said children attended camp and classes at the park, and regularly ate there and touched kicked-up dust.
“Look at the coloring. All this area that I just circles has between three-and-a-half and six feet of acutely hazardous debris,” Spota said.
Environmentalist Adrienne Esposito called the chemicals extremely dangerous.
“The threat is that this is finely processed material which means it will be very easily dust borne, and inhalation and absorption through the skin become major threats,” Esposito said. “The pesticides in particular can be absorbed through the skin which means that this has even greater amounts of public health risk than what we’ve previously seen.”
Esposito recommends kids get blood tested.
“Inhalation and absorption through the skin become major threats,” Esposito said.
Spota said the contaminants are more dangerous and in significantly higher concentration than those discovered at Roberto Clemente Park in Brentwood, where construction debris was found illegally dumped in 2014.
Spota said his office is focused on locating and charging the violators.
“They don’t care about how dangerous this is to children,” Spota said. “They don’t care one bit. They are motivated purely by money.”
It costs as much as $5,000 per truckload to properly dispose construction material containing hazardous substances.
“The profit motive being put ahead of our children and animals is disgusting,” Suffolk County legislator DuWayne Gregory said.
“By avoiding the expenses and tipping fees and simply dumping those loads in public parks, the criminals involved bear no expense and make huge profits,” Spota said.
The Sweet Hills Riding Center now has temporary quarters in Central Islip. Its operators suggest they’re innocent victims.
“This disturbing incident occurred without our knowledge or consent,” the company said in a statement.
The cleanup could cost millions.
Part of the park is now closed and parents of children known to have used the park are being notified.
Those exposed to the soil at the center can contact the Suffolk County Health Department or their own doctor.