No. 8 Top News Story: Overrun by flooded cars

12/25/2013 9:00 AM |
DEC COURTESY PHOTO |  Sandy-damaged cars parked on grasslands at EPCAL in early January.

DEC COURTESY PHOTO | Sandy-damaged cars parked on grasslands at EPCAL in early January.

First came the storm, then came the storm-damaged cars. By the tens of thousands.

The Enterprise Park at Calverton found itself in the national spotlight as the most expansive storage site for storm-damaged cars in the Northeast. The images were startling, as cars stretched as far as the eye could see, made all the more impressive by aerial shots from news choppers and state agencies. Controversy swirled around the arrangement, with most complaints coming from environmentalists concerned that fluids would leak from the vehicles and pollute groundwater.

Officials in Riverhead Town, which netted about $2 million in fees from leases, argued that cars parked on town land were restricted to impervious runways. But private property owners at EPCAL were also found to be leasing undeveloped space for car storage. State Department of Environmental Conservation officials took issue with those arrangements, ticketing property owners for cars parked on grass.

By late June, all the cars had disappeared.

Editor’s note: We’re counting down the top 10 news stories of 2013. Check back every day until Jan. 1 to follow along.

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