Tag Archive | "DEC"

Town Aims to Increase Recycling Efforts

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By Claire Walla


Christine Fetten is developing a 15-year plan for waste reduction. As Southampton Town’s Director of Facilities Management, she’s been tasked to lead the effort to improve the long-term recycling system laid-out in the town’s overall Comprehensive Plan, which will span through 2025. And as part of this plan, she aims to track every pound of recyclable material that leaves this town, ensuring it all gets disposed of in the most environmentally sound way possible.

Overall, she said the Town of Southampton is recycling more than the national average, for which only an estimated 33 percent of households are actually reported to recycle. Of the residents who use the town’s transfer stations, Fetten said about 51 percent separate out recyclables from their rubbish.

However, she went on to explain that only 15 percent of Southampton Town residents actually use the town’s transfer stations. This is where enforcing recycling efforts can become tricky.

This is not to say 85 percent of the Town of Southampton is not recycling — Fetten made that clear. But, it does mean that 85 percent of town residents use private carters, and where those recyclables end up, Fetten said, is unknown at this point.

But this is just what Fetten aims to find out.

Southampton Town is required to draft a waste management plan by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). The town initially set to work on this document in collaboration with environmental consultants from CDM (Camp Dresser & McKee) and Smith Associates, who recommended the town continue operating its transfer stations. (In addition to facilities in Hampton Bays, Westhampton and North Sea, there is also a smaller transfer station in Sag Harbor.)

However, part of continuing operations included one crucial caveat: “The DEC wants us to gain more information on what all of the town’s garbage is doing,” Fetten explained.

Thus, her department will begin issuing permits to commercial carters in an effort to begin tracking that information.

“We’re looking to obtain: tonnage collected, tonnage disposed of, ultimately tonnage recycled and the location of the receiving facilities and the routes,” Fetten continued.

By collecting this information, Fetten said the town will “Gain an idea of the recycling rates in all parts of the town.”

Currently, she said the town itself is making all efforts to dispose of waste products in ways that minimize their impact on the environment.

“We bring our co-mingled [garbage] to the town of Brookhaven,” Fetten explained. “Plastics are generally baled and loaded into a trailer for overseas transportation containment.”

She said paper is also baled and sent overseas, but the town receives money for these recyclables.

“Waste management is set up to be an enterprise account,” Fetten continued.

So, the fees associated with the sale of recyclable materials go toward running the town’s transfer stations. So does the sale of compost to commercial carters, which is $2 a yard when loaded on site, and $3 a yard when delivered by the town. (It’s free for residents.)

“In addition to being sustainable, we need to make sure we’re covering our costs.”

Fetten said the town sends recyclable materials (paper, cardboard and metal) to Gershow Recyclables in Nassau County; it sends e-waste (including computers, cellular phones and televisions) to e-Scrap Destruction up island; and it takes all other recyclable materials (including glass and plastic) to Brookhaven Town’s recycling facilities, where Fetten said they are reduced and reused.

However, not all materials that can be are currently recycled. Fetten said her department is looking into ways to properly dispose of batteries and Styrofoam. While rechargeable batteries can most often be returned to the store where they were purchased, at this point Fetten said alkaline batteries can only be chucked into green bags, which eventually end up at a landfill.

The same is true for Styrofoam.

“There’s no longer a recycling facility on Long Island for that,” she explained. “At least not that I know of. That’s why it goes in a green bag [used for generic trash].”

She said the town is looking into opportunities to ultimately bale these products and then sell the materials for market value.

In the end, while Fetten said the town will continue to explore the most cost-effective and environmentally sustainable recycling options, and will continue to explore newer recycling technologies, she said the overall message is tied to a much bigger picture.

According to statistics compiled by CDM & Smith Associates, individuals in the Town of Southampton generate an average of 4.43 pounds of waste materials a day. And with a year-round population of 60,000, which is estimated to climb to 180,000 in the summer months, Fetten said, “that’s a lot of waste!”

The ultimate goal is waste reduction, she continued. In part, this is contingent on state and federal governments, which have the power to introduce new technologies, like soy-based Styrofoam, which decomposes instead of being co-mingled with regular rubbish and tossed in a landfill.

But, on the local level, Fetten said the town needs to work on fostering sustainability goals and options. Not only encouraging residents to recycle, but teaching them how to cut-down on their waste from the get-go.

“There are so many different opportunities for the population to make choices” about the materials they use, Fetten continued. “That’s really the goal of our education and outreach program: To provide that information to the public.”

The public comment period on the town’s Waste Management Plan will be open through January 31. The public is invited to review the plan online or in the town clerk’s office, and submit comments.

Petrello Gets OK, Village Faces Lawsuit

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By Claire Walla


After a controversial demolition hearing and a submission of an unpopular initial building plan, members of the Sagaponack Village Architectural and Historic Review Board (AHRB) finally approved the blueprint for a two-story home submitted by Anthony and Cynthia Petrello. The board made its decision at a regularly scheduled AHRB meeting last Friday, October 21.

And while an OK from the AHRB is typically a relative green light for construction, this case faces another obstacle that may prevent this structure from being built as currently proposed.

As Village Clerk Rhodi Winchell explained it, Petrello’s building application was caught up in a change in regulation. Adopted by the board last spring, the village’s new Coastal Erosion Hazard (CEH) code requires structures on oceanfront properties to be built 125 feet landward of the crest of the properties oceanfront dune. This is about 30 feet back from where Petrello’s proposed his new house to sit.

Petrello has sued the village of Sagaponack over the issue, arguing that because his building plan was approved by the DEC in December of 2010 — before the CEH was adopted — his building plan should not have to conform to the new law.

However, Winchell explained, “they were not vested.”

Had some aspect of the proposed building actually been in the ground, she said Petrello would indeed have been exempted from CEH regulations.

At this point, she added, if Petrello’s suit is successful, then this current building plan — having already been approved by the AHRB — would be able to move forward as is.

Petrello’s architect, John Sprague, explained to the board on Friday that he and chief architect Lisa Zaloga tweaked the building’s exterior to address some of the concerns AHRB board members had shared at a previous meeting. He said the footprint has not changed, but designers took away the breakaway walls the AHRB took issue with, which exposes the actual pilings and the railings of the structure.

However, should Petrello lose the suit, his architects would have to go back to the drawing board. The CEH barrier would push the building back up into a triangular-shaped property, meaning the building’s footprint would have to shrink in order to fit.

Wild Turkeys May Make Thanksgiving Table

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web wild turkey

It has been more than a hundred years — some say two hundred years — since wild turkeys have been hunted on Long Island. That will change this Saturday when the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation opens its first turkey season here.

The hunt is the result of more than ten years of work re-introducing the fowl to state lands throughout Suffolk County — mostly on the East End. This Saturday, Barcelona Neck in Sag Harbor will be among the properties included in the five day limited local season.

“We’re trying to open up a hunting opportunity that hasn’t been here for a hundred years or more,” said DEC spokeswoman Aphrodite Montalvo.

In the mid 1990s, the state began re-introducing the birds locally, capturing mating pairs upstate. About 75 birds were eventually brought to Long Island and distributed at three locations, including Northwest woods.

Local woods and fields were once filled with the birds, but their population disappeared with the clearing of trees for cordwood and lumber and the creation of farms as the East End population grew. Express outdoors columnist Al Daniels, who grew up in East Hampton, knows of no one who had ever hunted wild turkeys here, but remembers hearing of them being on Gardiner’s Island.

The animals have been a common site throughout the area in the past five or six years, and The Sag Harbor Express started a Wild Turkey Watch feature when they began showing up in people’s back yards. Hikers frequently see them along woodland trails and even golfers at the Sag Harbor Golf Course on Barcelona Neck come across them eating and pecking their way across fairways, a phenomena that started just a few years ago.

Sag Harbor’s George Speckenbach remembers being stopped in traffic on his way to East Hampton on Route 114 near Swamp Road two years ago watching flocks of wild turkeys crossing the road.

“There were five or six waves of them, about 15 or 20 birds in each wave, flying from the ground to trees across the road,” recalled Speckenbach. “And even in the woods there were probably a hundred more.”

The numbers have gotten large enough — DEC officials estimate there are more than 3,000 turkeys on Long Island — to hold a shoot, but officials have no number in mind they would like to get the population down to, or even how many birds they expect to be killed this first go around.

“We just don’t know how successful this will be,” said Montalvo, “or what to expect.”

To gather data, the DEC is asking hunters to bring the harvested birds to the Ridge Hunter Check Station.

As the DEC gains experience in the first season or two, “some changes may be made to expand or improve the opportunity in the future,” the DEC said in a release.

Wild turkeys differ from the Butterball cousins in several weighs, not the least of which they are leaner and — for diners — tougher and gamier. Their diet leans toward eating nuts, berries and bugs, rather that the grain feed farm raised birds are fed.

While Southampton Town-owned lands will not be available for hunting turkeys, several parcels owned by East Hampton Town will, including about 100 acres off Town Line Road, 100 acres around the East Hampton Airport and the Buckskill Preserve off Route 114. Other state lands open for turkey hunting include the West Tiana Cooperative Area, the Westhampton Management Area and the David Sarnoff Pine Barrens Preserve.

The local season ends on Wednesday, November 25, just in time for hunters to bag their Thanksgiving dinner. Hunters are limited to one bird this season, of either sex, and may use shotgun or archery equipment. The shooting hours are from sunrise to sunset.



A Declining Deer Harvest in Recent Years

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Larry Penny, the East Hampton Town’s director of Natural Resources said that in 2006, the East Hampton Group for Wildlife did the first ever deer count for East Hampton Town. The group found there were 3,293 deer in the 69.7 square miles area of East Hampton. The number of deer harvested that year, according to the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), was 444. The following year, the number of deer harvested dropped to 390, with approximately five deer taken per square mile.

On Tuesday, the office of the Town Clerk of East Hampton, did a count of permits issued for access to town property for use of firearms for deer hunting. In their findings, it was reported in 2008, there were 92 permits issued for access to town property for use of firearms for deer hunting. This year, just two days into the season, 82 people have applied for these types of permits.

Aphrodite Montalvo, the Citizen Participation Specialist for the DEC, said the deer population in eastern Suffolk has actually declined over the past three years largely due to enhanced harvest of female deer, reduced natural food availability due to poor acorn production and severe winter weather. According to the DEC’s reports, the number of deer harvested in Southampton Town’s 142.2 square miles, was 462 in 2007 and 532 in 2006.

The DEC reports that there are roughly 4,000 to 6,000 deer on huntable land in Suffolk County. According to the DEC website, there were 850 bucks [deer with antlers] killed in Suffolk County in 2006 and a total of 2,357 deer killed overall. In 2007, however, those numbers were reduced and 2,159 deer were harvested overall and 781 bucks were harvested in the county.

For the 2008-2009 hunting season, there are approximately 360 residents in East Hampton with sporting licenses that include big game, such as deer, according to the DEC. And in Southampton Town, there are a total of 305 residents with sporting licenses.

“In areas open to hunting, the population of deer generally remains stable,” Mantavlo noted.