Banned Pesticides, Toxic Metals Found Near Long Island Homes for Veterans: DA

Wednesday, Jun 11, 2014  |  Updated 6:57 AM EDT
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Authorities probing several toxic material dump sites on Long Island said Tuesday that soil samples at a row of newly built homes for war veterans were contaminated with banned pesticides, hazardous metals and petroleum byproducts.

The homes, on Veterans Way in Islandia, initially tested negative for asbestos, but Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota said a new round of tests came back positive for the pesticides DDT and chlordane, petroleum byproducts and above-average levels several metals including cobalt, zinc, iron and lead.

Spota said the highest levels of the toxic chemicals were found at a berm near the houses, built last year for veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

“Whoever put this contaminated fill on this site did so with the knowledge that war veterans and their families were going to live in these homes,” Spota said. “Their deceit is astonishing, leaving these heroes and their families in harm’s way.”

It's the third site on Long Island to test positive for the toxic chemicals. Authorities also tested soil at Roberto Clemente Park in Brentwood and a vacant lot in Central Islip, finding the same metals and pesticides along with arsenic and asbestos. 

The dumping investigation began at Roberto Clemente Park, where tens of thousands of tons of materials were trucked in for a park improvement project.

The probe was then expanded to the vacant lot on Route 111, which was "very similar in appearance," Spota said. The six-home development in Islandia, along with several other sites, were later added to the investigation.

Authorities have been trying to determine who is responsible for the dumping, and are testing soil at other possible sites.

The group that built the veterans' homes, Long Island Builders Institute, says the three sites are linked by the same contractor.

Authorities say all 107 parks in Islip are being examined for contamination.

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