Operation Pay Dirt moves forward to clean nearly 20 illegal dumping sites
Suffolk officials have announced new cleanup efforts at illegal dumping sites in connection to "Operation Pay Dirt," which led to dozens of arrests.
Central Islip homeowner John Kerrigan says the nightmare began three years ago when he was given a flyer that offered "free clean fill." After an investigation, the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office, along with other agencies, discovered homeowners were being duped and contaminated soil was being dumped in their backyards.
It was just one of 18 sites where illegal dumping of contaminated soiled occurred across the Island.
Sini says the scheme was headed up by Anthony Grazio, of Smithtown. The size of the cases made it the largest environmental dumping case in state history.
"The home that we are here at today marks the first of 18 sites across Long Island that were identified as sites of illegal dumping in the Operation Pay Dirt investigation that will now undergo cleanup and remediation," says Suffolk DA Tim Sini. "Since the Operation Pay Dirt indictment was announced Nov. 2018 all 40 defendants ... 30 individuals and 10 corporations have reached dispositions in their cases. Nine of the defendants were convicted of felony offenses and the ringleader of this scheme was sent to state prison."
More than $1 million was seized from the defendants, and that money now is being used to clean up the sites.
Just some of what had been found in the clean fill includes plastic, rusty nails, glass and toxic chemicals.
County officials say the cleanup of all 18 sites is expected to be done by the end of the year.