Long Island man finds hundreds of bags of asbestos from MTA sites in his backyard

Long Island asbestos
Bags of asbestos found on rental property on Long Island. Photo credit Andy Sirico

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- Hundreds of bags of asbestos taken from MTA sites a few years ago have been found in a backyard on Long Island.

The bags were supposed to be disposed of at out-of-state waste sites after the asbestos was removed from MTA sites, but they’ve been in several trailers on a property in Islip Terrace since 2016, NBC New York reported.

The discovery was made by a father of three, who has been renting the two-story home on the tree-lined street since June.

"There's an asbestos warning sign inside the trailer with a clean room that says, 'Stay out,'" Andy Sirico told WCBS 880's Sophia Hall. "It's friable asbestos, which you just breathe it in one time and that's it, you can get mesothelioma."

Sirico paid his rent through Jan. 1, which is $3,000 a month, and he just wants the asbestos removed.

"It's odorless, tasteless, you don't cough from it, you don't sneeze from it, you don't itch your eyes from it. It's completely silent, you have no idea that you're getting it and here it is 20 feet from my back door," Sirico said. "This is considered a crime."

Long Island asbestos
Containers holding hundreds of bags of asbestos from MTA sites found in Long Island backyard. Photo credit Sophia Hall/WCBS 880

An MTA spokesperson said it paid Coastal Environmental, Inc. nearly $2 million to clean up projects from 2010 to 2016 and take the hazardous materials to Ohio.

“What’s depicted in the photographs appears to be an appalling breach of contract, State regulations and the public trust," MTA spokesperson Tim Minton said in a statement to WCBS 880. "The MTA hired a licensed asbestos abatement contractor to safely remove and appropriately dispose of asbestos waste from a construction site, and is shocked to see allegations that the firm failed to complete the job. Effective immediately, pending a thorough investigation, Coastal Environmental, Inc. and its owners will not be allowed to do business with the MTA.”

The owner of the property, who is a family member of the Coastal Environmental's owners, did return WCBS 880's request for comment.

The New York Department of Environmental Conservation is now investigating, but the asbestos has not yet been moved.

"DEC is coordinating with state and local officials and working with counsel to determine potential violations," the department said in a statement.

Featured Image Photo Credit: Andy Sirico