ISLIP - Neighbors of Roberto Clemente Park in Brentwood say they are concerned that a cleanup effort there could pose a health threat.
As News 12 has reported, the park has been closed since April 2014 when an estimated 50,000 tons of contaminated debris were found. This month, the Town of Islip began preparing for the removal of the hazardous material.
Neighbors say the town failed to tell residents its plan to safely remove the debris. They also say they weren't told when the cleanup process would begin.
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A sign on the fence on the park says, "Active clean-up site. No Trespassing." Just beyond that sign is red tape that says, "Danger: Asbestos Hazard."
Another sign tells neighbors how they can receive updated information from the town through a phone number and website.
News 12 called the phone number on the sign and visited the town's website. Both feature an identical message telling residents that the set-up process for the cleanup has begun, but they do not give a set date for when the removal of the debris will begin. They do say that there will be air monitoring stations to ensure the process is safe.
In a statement to News 12, the Town of Islip said the cleanup began on June 1, and says a letter in both English and Spanish was sent to residents near the park. The town also says it is providing regular communication to the community, which it says is a requirement of the state-approved cleanup plan.
The town's statement says, "Mobilization of equipment, setup of environmental protection measures, and communication to the neighborhood is ongoing... Once the contractor is fully mobilized and the site is set, the material will begin to move off site to authorized disposal sites."
The town added that the cleanup project is being regulated by appropriate agencies such as the state Department of Labor and the DEC.