Town Investigated By DEC For Using Asphalt Millings As Fill

By Jacob H. Zoghlin, Esq.

The Town of Carmel’s “decision to dump mounds of asphalt millings eight feet high near the … shore [of Lake Mahopac]” sparked an Investigation by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (the “DEC”)1. That’s because a January 2019 DEC ruling prohibited the use of asphalt milling as fill in the state of New York. The Town brought the millings to the lakeside property “to fill in the low spots” and to raise the level of the land, which often floods.

However, asphalt millings contain compounds that have caused cancer in laboratory animals. So when it rains, stormwater may carry those compounds into local water bodies and beyond, potentially causing contamination and negative environmental or health impacts. This is especially concerning to Town residents, environmentalists, and the DEC because Lake Mahopac provides drinking water for about 450 households.

Here, the Town’s seemingly innocuous decision about where to store excess asphalt millings from road resurfacing jobs may now lead to a costly investigation, expansive remediation, fine, or even litigation. Handling government investigations can be complex, but the right knowledge and experience can help mitigate the damage. That’s because some problems can be avoided when you know where to look and can see issues coming. Whether it’s a local municipality, a small business, a homeowner, or a developer, seeking advice early can be critical to identifying, avoiding, or mitigating environmental liability, and to responding to government investigations when they arise.

For inquiries about environmental law or government investigations, please contact Jacob H. Zoghlin, Esq. or Mindy L. Zoghlin, Esq.

1 See “Lake Mahopac Park Project Faces State Environmental Investigation, reveals local ties,” by David McKay Wilson, Rockland/Westchester Journal News, Feb. 8, 2019, available at https://www.lohud.com/story/money/personal-finance/taxes/david-mckay-wilson/2019/02/08/lake-mahopac-park-dec-probe/2794088002/

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