McKeown sisters at Beaver Dam Creek and South Country road

Brookhaven & South Haven Hamlets

Town of Brookhaven, Suffolk County, New York

Brookhaven/South Haven Hamlets Study

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The South Haven Church was established near the end of the 17th century to serve the Presbyterian community "at the South." The old church was moved from its original site beside the Carmans River to its present location in Brookhaven Hamlet in 1960. George Borthwick’s history is an amazingly rich chronicle of the individuals and events that have defined this south shore community over the course of three centuries.

Today there is still much to remind us of that early, primeval Brookhaven. The natural wetlands and open space that originally attracted settlers to this area still characterize our community.

The preservation of the area’s open spaces, wetlands, waterways and natural resources is is a key part of this community’s vision for its future, and the highest priority among the recommendations of this Hamlet study.

Sadly, over the past decade, new fires have appeared in the night, visible to sailors navigating the waters of Fire Place – these are the gas flares that burn atop the Town landfill, the mountain of garbage that has loomed up along the one-time route of Old Town Road and signals alarm for the future of this 300-year-old community.

The centuries that have ensued since the early days of Revolutionary fervor have not dimmed the penchant for Brookhaven area residents to take the lead in far-reaching causes. In the 1960s, a few local environmentalists, including BVA member, Dennis Puleston and long-time Bellport High School science teacher Art Cooley, founded the Environmental Defense Fund and took on the massive destruction of the environment being caused by the pesticide DDT. They took the manufacturers to court, and ultimately changed the nation’s policy on environmental issues. The EDF, now one of the most powerful environmental lobbying organizations in the country, is in the headlines again. This time it is for initiating lawsuits that are challenging the conduct of waste management in the nation’s municipalities. One result has been the recent Supreme Court decision against the dumping of toxic incinerator ash in municipal landfills. Brookhaven/South Haven residents (with the support of the EDF, and other organizations) have been active in these issues at the local level. A focus of this activity has been a concerted opposition to the expansion and continued operation of the Brookhaven Town Landfill as a regional ashfill. The landfill, whose site is adjacent to the headwaters of the Beaver Dam Creek, and which lies just north of the Hamlet boundary, has had measurable and severe effects on local air and groundwater quality, and represents an approach to waste management that is widely regarded in this community as environmentally and economically unsound.

The health of our community in the long term depends critically on the implementation of sound sound environmental and waste-management policies for Brookhaven Town and for Long Island as a whole. In this document we will outline some specific waste- management practices that can be implemented in our community and beyond, to facilitate the New York State-mandated hierarchy to reduce, reuse, recycle the component’s of our waste streams. A major concern is the continued expansion of the Town landfill as a regional repository for repository toxic incinerator ash.