Fire at Yaphank mulch distributor sparks calls for regulation

YAPHANK - It took more than 100 firefighters four hours to put out a fire that broke out at a Yaphank mulch distributor, and now some local officials are calling for stricter regulations of compost sites. A total of six departments battled the flames billowing from a 40-foot pile of mulch at the Beaver Industries facility on East Main Street. No injuries were reported and no homes were endangered. Town of Brookhaven officials say they have been trying to shut down the compost plant for some time now, claiming that it's in violation of multiple town codes, including having no site plan and no certificate of occupancy.Legislator Kate Browning (D-Shirley) says she has been lobbying the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to regulate the mulch industry. "I would like to see some kind of air quality standards for compost facilities," she says. However, the DEC says it has no authority over compost plants because they are in the jurisdiction of the fire marshal. Meanwhile, Brookhaven town officials say Beaver Industries will receive another violation for having a pile of more than 40 feet, which is 15 feet over the limit.

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