BABYLON, Long Island (PIX11) — In the wake of two recently discovered, potentially toxic illegal dumping sites on Long Island, concerns have been raised about a legal dumping site located between one of Long Island’s most pristine public beaches and a local September 11th memorial.
The government run dumping ground at Overlook Beach gives no indication of toxicity, but some local residents are concerned that it’s hazardous.
At least one resident contacted PIX11 News about the site operated by the Town of Babylon, and PIX11 News contacted the town. Its spokesperson, Kevin Bonner, said that the dump, which is about two stories high, and as long and wide as a football field, is made up of “recycled aggregate.” That’s a combination of roadway and sidewalk remnants, Bonner said, which the town’s department of public works uses as fill dirt on other projects.
However, when PIX11 News dug into the mounds, we found that it was made up of more than just pieces of road and sidewalk.
We found glass, ceramic tile, many sharp, rusty metal fragments and planks with rusty nails sticking straight out. The dozens of planks were made of both wood and plastic.
The debris pile, which some locals dubbed “The Mountain,” stops just short of the Babylon Hometown 9/11 memorial. Bonner had told PIX11 News that there was no public access to the mounds of waste, but some of the piles of debris even cover some of the Overlook Beach parking lot spaces.
Also, there’s a path connecting the beach to its parking lot, and the the dumping ground is immediately adjacent to that path. On busy days beginning Memorial Day weekend, children could easily walk up to and onto the waste piles.
Even on a cold, windy Friday, a few people were on Overlook enjoying its amenities. They were surprised to learn what PIX11 News had found.
“It’s definitely not environmentally friendly,” said Maciek Markowicz, who was visiting the beach from Brooklyn.
Stuart Scharf had just finished fishing in the surf when he told PIX11 News, “If it’s waste, it should be moved out of there. It should.” Scharf said he’d been fishing at Overlook Beach for years, and added, “The town of Babylon is pretty good. They have a vested interest in keeping the beach nice.”
After seeing the dump site firsthand, PIX11 News called the Town of Babylon again.
This time, after checking with his superiors and the town’s department of public works, Bonner had a prepared statement for the record. He pointed out that the waste site had been in its present location “for several years,” and that the town had never received a complaint about it. He had indicated in an earlier conversation, however, that the town had received calls expressing concern about the waste mounds.
Noting specifically that a concerned resident had contacted PIX11 News, Bonner said that “because we’re concerned about the well being of our residents, we will be installing snow fencing around this area to prevent any unintentional trespassing.”
There was no indication as to how soon the snow fence will be erected. The summer beach season begins in one week.