Saladino: Independent Testing in Syosset Must Commence Prior to Development

Saladino: Independent Testing in Syosset Must Commence Prior to Development

With plans for proposed development before the Town of Oyster Bay, Supervisor Joseph Saladino and the Town Board today announced plans to move forward with independent environmental and health testing of the former Syosset Landfill site, Department of Public Works site and former site of Cerro Wire Manufacturing in Syosset.  The Town will accept the developer’s offer to fund independent testing and analysis.

Supervisor Saladino stated, “Over the past few months, the Town Board has listened to concerns voiced by the community in regards to proposed development in Syosset and, in particular, environmental concerns regarding the former Syosset Landfill and Cerro Wire sites.  The Town of Oyster Bay will settle for nothing less than independent testing that adheres to established quality control standards, and the methodologies and protocols set forth by the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Environmental Conservation and both State and County health departments.  Residents deserve to be part of the process, receive precise and verifiable test results, and any independent testing performed must also demonstrate strict compliance with all applicable regulations and industry standards.  Irrespective of the extensive historic testing at these sites, the Town’s unwavering commitment to facilitating additional testing will be completed and done so with unprecedented transparency.”

New York State General Municipal Law prevents municipalities from issuing a professional services contract without some level of open, public competition.  To ensure independence and operate within the law, the Town of Oyster Bay is seeking agreements with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), New York State Department of Health and the Nassau County Department of Health to develop and administer a testing program.  Such an agreement will allow for the payment of services to be provided through funds supplied by the developer to offset costs associated with the additional independent testing and analysis.  All regulatory agencies will be requested to review and approve work plans developed for this testing program as they promulgate testing standards and sampling procedures based on professional experience of experts, available technology and public input.  The very objective of the independent testing is reliability, transparency and the inherent ability to withstand verification tests and scrutiny.

“The Town is eager to accomplish the objectives requested by our residents, and we hope that elected government officials offer a similar commitment to developing this independent testing plan and ensuring all environmental and health regulatory agencies play an integral role in this intricate process.  Similar partnerships between regulatory monitoring agencies have helped protect our residents for decades and this concerted effort will help ensure thorough and comprehensive testing of potential hazards,” added Saladino.

The Oyster Bay Town Board remains steadfastly committed to facilitating additional testing and analysis to further clarify existing conditions; however, the presumption that historic testing on and offsite was inadequate and/or performed without third party oversight and scrutiny is a false claim that has infiltrated the fabric of our community.  Residents who are unaware of the extensive testing of environmental parameters on and offsite may take some comfort in the myriad testing and studies performed to date.  Additionally, the Town has been in frequent contact with the EPA and DEC.  The DEC recently notified the Town of plans to proceed – at no cost to Town taxpayers – with radiological screening at the former Syosset Landfill site.  This is yet another reason why the Town recommends that the DEC take a leadership role in the proposed independent testing program development protocol, so that there is consistency, accountability, and a clear line of communication for the additional independent testing performed at the site.