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Cleanup Begins In Neighborhoods Affected By Illegal Long Island Dumping Scheme

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Cleanup of the largest illegal dumping case in New York State history started on Long Island this week.

Suffolk County investigators indicted more than 30 people and nine corporations for dumping construction and demolition debris in neighborhoods.

Suffolk County District Attorney Tim Sini said the ringleader was Anthony Grazio. Sini said he sold toxic dirt on Craigslist to Long Island residents who needed filler for landscaping and construction.

“Testing of this site revealed the presence of mercury and traces of other hazardous substances under New York State code. And this ‘free fill,’ if you will, was found to contain zip-ties, rusted nails, clay shingles, asphalt, tile, plastic and glass,” Sini said.

Last year, Grazio pled guilty and was sentenced to two to four years in state prison.

Prosecutors also sued the illegal dumping ring. They seized nearly $1.3 million in assets to help clean up 18 homes contaminated by the scheme.

A native Long Islander, J.D. is WSHU's managing editor. He also hosts the climate podcast Higher Ground. J.D. reports for public radio stations across the Northeast, is a journalism educator and proud SPJ member.