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Brookhaven Air Quality Improvement Actions

Brookhaven Landfill Odor Complaints

The Brookhaven Landfill is a DEC permitted facility located in the hamlet of Yaphank, town of Brookhaven, Suffolk County. The landfill began operating in 1974 and initially accepted household waste, or Municipal Solid Waste (MSW).

In January 2015, DEC started receiving an increasing number of odor complaints about the landfill. Residents of neighboring communities reported rotten egg, sulfur, and sewage-type odors.

DEC is publishing a regular factsheet series to share information with the community regarding actions taken by DEC and the town of Brookhaven to improve air quality in the areas surrounding the Brookhaven Landfill.

2013-2014 study report for the Brookhaven Village Association and South Yaphank Civic Association Community Air Screen results

During this air screening, four air samples were collected in the Brookhaven community for 1-hour with a 6-liter sampling canister and analyzed using a laboratory method which evaluates the presence of 43 toxic air pollutants.

One of the halogenated alkanes detected with highest estimated risk was 1,2-dibromoethane. This air toxic is difficult to measure reliably and the reported result is very close to the method detection limit. A review of DEC's air toxic monitoring network shows that this air toxic is rarely detected. It is unlikely that the short-term sample result reflects longer-term conditions given the sporadic detection of this air toxic.

The results for pollutants related to vehicular emissions for the sample along a highway were higher than other sampling results. All results from the sample at this location are below the short-term health-based air concentration values and therefore do not represent a short-term health concern. The result for benzene at this location did prompt further review since it was over a 10-in-a-million cancer risk. It is unlikely that the measured concentration from this short-term sampling event reflects long-term exposure conditions since the amount of traffic on the highway during a week day would be considerably different than the amount of traffic on other days or at night. Additionally, the result for benzene is only slightly higher than concentrations found in urban locations in the State and therefore would not be considered unusual.

In conclusion, this limited short-term screening assessment did not identify concentrations of toxic air pollutants that would be considered a public health concern. Although one of the one hour benzene readings was higher than the other results, it was consistent with monitored concentrations across the State and not unexpected given close proximity to a heavily-traveled road.

For additional information, you can download the complete report Brookhaven Village Association and South Yaphank Civic Association - 2013-14 Community Air Screen Program (PDF, 955 KB, 78 pgs).