State Seeks Cleanup Of Illegal Mound Of Trash On Long Island

Attorney General Spitzer and Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Erin Crotty today announced a lawsuit against a Nassau County company for operating an illegal solid waste dump in a residential community.

The state's lawsuit alleges that Gator Recycling Corp., 459 Brown Court, Oceanside, has amassed a growing mound of trash that is visible from nearby residential neighborhoods and surrounding businesses. The site contains more than 10 times the volume of waste that the company is legally allowed to deposit at its location. The lawsuit seeks a court order to have the waste removed from the site, be properly disposed of and that the company pay appropriate penalties.

The lawsuit was filed October 23 in State Supreme Court, Nassau County. Justice Robert Roberto Jr. signed a temporary restraining order prohibiting Gator Recycling from bringing any additional waste to its site until at least November 3, when attorneys for the state and the company are scheduled to appear before Justice Roberto for a hearing on the matter.

"In addition to violating environmental laws, the company has created a nuisance and an eyesore for residents of the community," said Attorney General Spitzer. "My office will work with the DEC to prosecute those who violate environmental laws as a matter of convenience."

DEC Commissioner Crotty said: "The improper handling and storage of solid waste can severely diminish the quality of life in neighborhoods and damage the health of surrounding natural resources. This company has displayed a blatant disregard for environmental regulations and the well-being of the community. DEC will work side by side with the Attorney General’s office to make sure the individuals responsible for these violations are held accountable."

Gator Recycling has been the subject of six DEC enforcement actions since 1990. The lawsuit alleges that Gator is violating the terms of a 2002 agreement with the state to comply with the state’s solid waste laws.

Gator Recycling is located on a four-acre parcel of land near residential neighborhoods. Its trash pile - - approximately 25 feet high and nearly 500 feet in circumference - - contains wood, plastics, furniture, drywall, insulation, mattresses, roof shingles, broken sinks, toilets and bathtubs and other debris.

Gator Recycling, which was previously known as the B&A Carting Company and Tri-L Recycling Corp., has a history of violating solid waste laws and regulations as well as DEC consent orders. Between 1990 and 1999, Gator operated without a permit in violation of the state’s solid waste laws, despite several DEC enforcement actions. After each enforcement action, the company entered into agreements with the DEC in which it pledged to comply with the state’s solid waste laws, and were assessed penalties.

The company obtained a permit from DEC in 1999 but almost immediately violated the conditions of that permit by stockpiling excessive volumes of waste at the site. In 1999 and again in 2002, DEC brought enforcement actions, both of which resulted in agreements in which the company again committed to comply with the state’s solid waste laws. Unfortunately, the company has failed to honor its commitment.

Inspections conducted by DEC between August 2002 and August 2003 indicated that the company had made little, if any, effort to address the violations documented in the 2002 consent order. In July, 2003, DEC found that the company had stockpiled 10,700 cubic yards of waste, more than 10 times the total allowable maximum of 1,000 cubic yards.

The case was handled by Assistant Attorneys General Yueh-Ru Chu and Norman Spiegel. DEC staff working on the case include Assistant Regional Attorney Craig Elgut and James Wade of the Division of Solid and Hazardous Materials.