Illegal Dumping at Islip’s Roberto Clemente Park May Involve Asbestos

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Asbestos_Involved_in_Illegal_Islip_DumpingLong Island, New York’s Town of Islip intends on filing lawsuits in an attempt to recover money from contractors who allegedly illegally dumped debris containing asbestos within the Roberto Clemente Park in Brentwood.

The contractors may be charged criminally by the Suffolk County district attorney, as well, according to Newsday. The Town of Islip will also be seeking civil restraining orders against companies involved in the dumping to ensure asset liquidation does not occur.

“We want to prevent any of these people that are responsible for this criminal conduct from corporate protection by selling off assets of their corporations,” Councilman Anthony Senft told Newsday. “So that when we come after them and get judgments in the favor of Town of Islip, they [can’t say they] have no assets.”

About 32,000 tons of debris, some containing concentrations as high as 44 percent of asbestos, were dumped in the park by one contractor that has been described as “unscrupulous, “ said the Suffolk DA, who called the dumping an “environmental nightmare.” Experts estimate cleanup could cost deep into the seven figures, Newsday reported. Islip’s town attorney is waiting on the DA’s investigation to so that a determination concerning potential legal action may be made, an understanding of what substances were discovered in the debris, and where the degree originated. Inspectors from Enviroscience Consultants, a firm the DA hired, was seen at the park taking samples.

Last year, a church asked the town for permission to fix holes in its soccer fields, said Spota. Ultimately, the church asked or soil donations. This led to contractors, which are, as yet, unidentified, to dump illegal fill as far back as last June. The fill originated from New York City and Long Island, according to Newsday.

The park has been closed since April 23 for an indefinite period and its $1.5 million swimming pool rehabilitation project has been put on hold. The pool was scheduled to open in June, Newsday reported. A complete analysis may take until early June to complete.

At a news conference this week, Spota said his investigators are trying to determine if anyone in the Islip Town government was aware of the illegal dumping when it was occurring. Senft, who is also the council liaison to the parks department, said that the debris was “placed illegally without the permission” of the town and the contractors involved were church hired. Spota said he believed the church not at fault Newsday wrote.

This January, the town cleared soil filled with rebar following resident complaints. Also at that time, the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) was advised; however, according to the DEC, tickets were not issued, reported Newsday. The town forced the parks commissioner, Joseph Montuori, to resign this week.

When airborne, asbestos fibers are easily ingested or inhaled. Once inhaled, asbestos fibers cause significant health issues, such as breathing problems that become more difficult to treat over time. Prolonged or high level exposure may lead to various forms of lung cancer, including mesothelioma, which is a cancer of the pleura in the lungs. Mesothelioma’s effects are not be reversible and symptoms may take 10-40 years after exposure to develop. Risk factors increase with the length of exposure and just a few months of exposure may significantly raise a person’s risk for this deadly disease.

Early signs of potential adverse effects related to asbestos exposure include shortness of breath, feeling tired, or a dry cough. As the disease progresses, coughs may become persistent and worsen. Chest pain and frequent lung infections are also hallmark symptoms of possible lung cancers like mesothelioma caused by exposure to asbestos.