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For Release: Wednesday, April 6, 2022

DEC Commissioner Seggos Announces Completion of Transformational Cleanup at Dzus Fastener Superfund Site in West Islip

Comprehensive Cleanup Removed Over 80,000 Tons of Contaminated Soil, Improves Habitat, Supports West Islip's Climate Resiliency

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today announced the successful completion of a comprehensive State Superfund cleanup and environmental restoration of the Dzus Fastener Co., Inc. in West Islip, Suffolk County. The extensive remediation of the Dzus Fasteners site and adjacent properties along Willetts Creek and Lake Capri included the removal of more than 80,000 tons of contaminated soil, restoration of sensitive ecosystems with water quality improvements and the removal of invasive species, and new climate resiliency features in the cleanup corridor to help prevent flooding issues that affected the area.

"This is a major environmental and public health accomplishment for the West Islip community and Long Island's South Shore," said Commissioner Seggos. "For years the community faced the uncertainty and constant eyesore of this contaminated site and with their direct involvement, DEC achieved all of the cleanup and restoration goals for this complex site and in the process, restored crucial habitat and built climate resiliency features to create a healthier, more sustainable community for years to come."

The Commissioner toured the site today in advance of the second New York State Climate Action Council public hearing being held tonight in Brookhaven to learn about different ways DEC staff are incorporating climate resiliency into projects. Over the last decade, several significant storms - most notably Superstorm Sandy in 2012 -- impacted the West Islip area. With the increased frequency and ferocity of storms in this area, DEC conducted a detailed climate resiliency assessment as part of the cleanup effort to ensure any engineered components of the project could withstand future climate-driven weather events.

Dzus Fastener Co. Inc. manufactured fasteners and springs for use in military, aerospace, transportation, electronics and other industries, from 1932 to 2015. Past activities from these operations contaminated the factory and areas off the Dzus site downstream, including in Willetts Creek and nearby Lake Capri. An earlier cleanup of the main site in 1999 was performed by the company but additional contamination of both on-site and adjacent properties led to a State-funded cleanup to ensure the contaminants, primarily cadmium and chromium, were addressed to be fully protective of public health and the environment.

From April 2019 to May 2020, DEC implemented a $20-million cleanup that included the removal of more than 80,000 tons of contaminated soil and sediment. Extensive community engagement led to the development of a plan that not only fully addressed the contamination, but restored the West Islip community with improved area drainage, expanded shoreline, and enhanced climate resiliency. The former Dzus site is also being redeveloped for commercial use to help further strengthen the local economy.

Senator Phil Boyle said, "I would like to thank Commissioner Seggos and the staff at DEC for their years of dedication and hard work in cleaning up the Dzus Fastener site. From our very first community meeting with over 500 residents until today's announcement of a successful restoration, the DEC has kept the health and safety of West Islip residents forefront in their minds and have been transparent with us about what actions needed to be taken and how they would be accomplished."

Assemblyman Michael Durso, "I'm pleased to hear about the progress made to remediate the Dzus Fastener Superfund Site. I look forward to continue working with Commissioner Seggos, and our partners in State and local government, to provide transparency and accountability to the West Islip community."

Islip Town Supervisor Angie Carpenter said, "As a longtime resident, and elected representative of the West Islip community, I am very pleased to see the cleanup of the Dzus Fastener Superfund site. The contamination that happened at this site was a true environmental injustice that has sickened the members of our community, and I hope that the completion of this cleanup will close a dark chapter in our history."

West Islip Superintendent of Schools Bernadette Burns said, "In addition to the restoration of its natural beauty, Willetts Creek is abundant with educational experiences. The recovered site affords West Islip students the opportunity to engage directly with representatives from a New York State agency and extends their learning in the field of environmental science. As collaborative stewards of the site with the DEC, students are invested in the community and the role they play in its upkeep and beautification."

Among the benefits of the cleanup and restoration activities in and around the Dzus site are:

  • A new footbridge and larger culvert at Beach Street Middle School, which will alleviate flooding;
  • Drainage improvements, including the grading of Willetts Creek and the lowering of the bottom of Lake Capri, to reduce flooding on nearby properties and minimize the deposition of sediment and debris during extreme weather;
  • Native plantings in the wetlands and floodplain of Willetts Creek and the removal of invasive species as part of continuing site management activities;
  • The lowering of nearby Lake Capri's lake bottom to help mitigate algal blooms and the proliferation of aquatic vegetation; and
  • A new "living classroom" to inculcate the importance of environmental stewardship and enhance biology and ecology instructional programs for West Islip students.

Continuing monitoring of the groundwater in and around the former Dzus Fastener site remains part of ongoing site management activities and will ensure the cleanup remains effective for the long-term protection of public health and the environment.

old footbridge on contaminated site
Dzus Superfund cleanup BEFORE - Footbridge

New footbridge being built, fencing and construction signs surroung worksite
Dzus Superfund cleanup DURING - Footbridge

Finish footbridge on previously contaminated site
Dzus Superfund cleanup AFTER - Footbridge

shopping carts litter contaminated stream
Dzus Superfund Cleanup - BEFORE - Willets

Clean stream runs through previously contaminated superfund site
Dzus Superfund Cleanup - AFTER - Willets

Wetland within the previously contaminated superfund site
Dzus Superfund Cleanup - AFTER - Wetland

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