An attempt to get free material to help complete a recreation path at the Enterprise Park at Calverton might have turned out to be a toxic decision.
Town Highway Superintendent George Woodson said at Thursday’s work session that the call to use free crushed concrete from a site on Nugent Drive in Riverside was his to make in an effort to save on costs for the project. However, the state Department of Environmental Conservation has not approved its use, since the agency doesn’t know where the material came from.
The material would be used to complete a nine-mile path at the site, three miles of which remain unpaved.
While it remains unclear if the material is hazardous — the DEC ordered that the town to have it tested — it didn’t take long before the conversation turned into the blame game.
Supervisor Sean Walter said Councilwoman Jodi Giglio didn’t contact the DEC about using the material, as she had claimed.
“Are you calling me a liar?” she asked.
“Yes, I am,” Mr. Walter responded.
Ms. Giglio later produced a series of emails between herself and DEC officials regarding the issue.
The two also debated over how much it might cost to test the material; Mr. Walter said it could cost $10,000, while Ms. Giglio said it could be closer to $3,000.
Mr. Walter and Councilman George Gabrielsen brought in a bag containing some of the material that was dumped on the runway, and dumped it on the table at Thursday’s Town Board work session.
“I’m assuming that’s an asbestos roof shingle,” Mr. Walter said, holding up one of the pieces.
Mr. Gabrielsen said the material also contained construction debris, hardwood flooring, and metals.
Mr. Walter said if the material is contaminated, it will be the town’s responsibility to have it carted away safely.
Mr. Woodson, who said other towns had also taken the material, said he believed he had to act quick to get the free material — which he said came from a facility off Nugent Drive — because it was going quick.
At one point, as the supervisor and Ms. Giglio argued, Mr. Woodson got up and left the meeting.
“You want to blame somebody? Blame me for trying to do the right thing,” he said.
Among other topics discussed at the meeting were the Sonoma Grill planned for Main Street, the Pataki-Cahill Group contract at EPCAL, United Riverhead Terminal’s public hearing, and the sale of the dilapidated East Lawn building on East Main Street.
To read a recap of News-Review reporter Tim Gannon’s live blog of the meeting, click below, and scroll down for the full meeting agenda.