School board addresses health concerns over Brookhaven landfill

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The South Country School District's Board of Education addressed teacher and parent concerns over the Brookhaven Town landfill and its proximity to school grounds at a public meeting in Bellport Middle School Wednesday evening.

The Frank P. Long Intermediate School in Bellport sits in the shadow of the landfill, which many have blamed for ongoing health issues like asthma, thyroid cancer and connective tissue disease in teachers.

One parent says her 10-year-old son James, a fifth-grader, has also fallen ill. 

At the meeting, the district presented tests from both the state Department of Environmental Conservation and private air quality results, but residents demanded more.

Ultimately, the board asked administrators to consider moving students out of that school.

News 12 has reported that the DEC is monitoring the Brookhaven landfill, which has also drawn complaints over odor and other health concerns. The staff at the school has set up a memorial garden, commemorating the many colleagues who have died — they believe — due to related illnesses over the past 20 years.

"We have lost 11 people who worked in our building for a significant amount of time," says Trish Gallina. 

A Brookhaven Town spokesperson declined to comment.

No determination has been made yet as to when the students might be moved or to where.

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