BRENTWOOD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Years after a Long Island park was contaminated by illegal dumping, eight waste removal companies are paying the price for it.
As CBS2s Carolyn Gusoff reported Wednesday, they’ve agreed to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in restitution that will be used to improve the parks they dumped in.
It was called an environmental catastrophe. A public park was poisoned with asbestos, metals and other toxins.
New York Attorney General Letitia James announced a $600,000 settlement with eight companies for dumping New York City demolition debris in Brentwood in 2014.
“We are holding the companies accountable for their role in polluting the park with hazardous materials, and we are holding them financially liable for the community’s loss of the park during the three years it was closed for cleanup,” James said.
Criminal trials ended with convictions, but officials say dozens of other contractors, waste removal brokers and haulers, tracked through GPS data, were complicit.
“For far too long, companies and other bad actors thought they could dump contaminated material and other waste in our neighborhoods,” Suffolk County District Attorney Tim Sini said.
The Brentwood community will decide how to spend the money, but leaders says it’s not enough to undo the damage.
“I don’t think you can put a dollar amount on what the children missed out on all those years and then the possibility of them maybe getting sick later on down the road,” said Herbie Medina of the group Uplift Our Towns.
When asked what was lost when there wasno park, resident Tori Melborne said, “Your childhood in a sense. It’s horrible.”
The Town of Islip is still suing companies for the $4 million cleanup.
“People that would commit crimes like that are very shrewd and they move assets and they go out of business. It has been a challenge. It really, really has. But we are pursing it. We owe it to the taxpayers,” Islip Supervisor Angie Carpenter said.
The attorney general is pursing settlements from 25 other companies she says are also responsible for the dumping, and, if necessary, will take them to trial to give back to a community that was robbed.
The state has since made illegal dumping a felony.
The agreements and related payments announced Wednesday resolve the lawsuit brought by OAG against the following companies:
- Atria Builders, LLC (construction contractor) will pay $90,000.
- Monaco Construction Corp., Alef Construction Inc., and 158 Franklin Ave., LLC (construction contractors) will collectively pay $58,439.
- Triton Construction Company, LLC (construction contractor) will pay $108,505; IEV Trucking Corp. (waste broker) will pay $175,000; Touchstone Homes, LLC (construction contractor) will pay $175,000; and COD Services Corp. (waste broker) will pay $20,000.