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For Release: Wednesday, January 14, 2015

DEC Approves Cleanup Plan for Roberto Clemente Park

Plan Will Require Comprehensive Cleanup and Stringent Protections for Community

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today approved a comprehensive cleanup plan for Roberto Clemente Park in Suffolk County, which will allow the Town of Islip to begin work to remove illegally placed fill material at the site and restore the park for public use, Regional Director Peter A. Scully announced today. The cleanup plan incorporates revisions to the Town of Islip's initial Draft Removal Work Plan based on a public review process and comments received from government agencies and the public.

"The transparent public process that guided the review of the Town of Islip's draft work plan was critical to developing a stronger plan that will be more protective of the environment and the community," Director Scully said. "DEC will continue to work closely with the Suffolk County Department of Health Services on the cleanup of Roberto Clemente Park to remove potential environmental and health risks so community residents and visitors will be safe when they use the park."

The approved plan requires all illegally placed fill material to be excavated and removed from the park. The town will then conduct soil sampling to confirm that no contamination remains. Groundwater monitoring wells will also be installed to detect any potential impacts to groundwater.

DEC required revisions to the town's initial work plan to require additional monitoring wells, air monitoring stations and end point sampling; the use of screens and fencing to control dust; and a Community Air Monitoring Plan while removal activities are underway. In addition, a Community Participation Plan requires the establishment of a working group comprised of government representatives and local residents to keep the community informed of the cleanup progress.

Data from laboratory analyses indicate that the fill material at the park is contaminated construction and demolition debris. Several landfill facilities on Long Island are authorized to accept construction and demolition debris. However, in determining whether solid waste material can be disposed of at a Long Island landfill, DEC uses Soil Cleanup Objectives (SCOs) set forth in DEC regulations (6 NYCRR Part 375). Material that meets SCOs for the Protection of Groundwater is considered suitable for disposal at Long Island landfills. Because DEC restricts material that does not meet the Groundwater Protection SCOs from being accepted at landfills on Long Island, a portion of the fill at Roberto Clemente Park must be shipped off Long Island for disposal.

DEC held a public meeting on the Town of Islip's Draft Work Plan on Oct. 9th. DEC received public comments at that meeting and during a comment period that ran through October 20th. After a thorough evaluation of the Draft Removal Work Plan and review of the comments received, DEC sent a letter to the Town of Islip outlining required changes to the plan. The revised work plan submitted by the town incorporates these changes.

The draft plan was also reviewed by the New York State Department of Labor, New York State Department of Health, Suffolk County Department of Health Services and Suffolk County Water Authority.

"DEC is grateful to the government agencies, elected officials, community groups and individual citizens whose contributions helped to develop the improved work plan that addresses concerns with the cleanup and future use of the park," said Director Scully. "This ongoing dialogue will continue as the cleanup of Roberto Clemente Park moves forward."

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