Top Stories 2012: Contaminated Briarcliff School Fields

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The state Department of Environmental Conservation approved the Briarcliff Manor School District's plan to remediate the contaminated fields outside the high school earlier this year. Photo Credit: Nathan Bruttell

BRIARCLIFF MANOR, N.Y. – As 2012 draws to an end, The Briarcliff Daily Voice is looking back at some of the top stories of the year.

While there has been no connection made to a possible cancer cluster, the contaminated fields at Briarcliff Middle School and High School are set to be cleaned up in 2013. 

Members of the Briarcliff Manor Board of Education said they were pleased in November after the state Department of Environmental Conservation and Department of Health approved the district’s plan to remediate the contaminated fields. DEC representatives told the board the $1.9 million remediation plan, which includes using a natural turf cap to cover the school district’s practice and softball fields, would need to be completed before the end of 2013.

The school board approved the plan in August, shortly after several residents made claims that the contaminated fields caused a cancer cluster in the district. Several national and international news outlets quoted residents asking if the toxins in the soil might have created a cancer cluster among students in the school district. Families of former students Nicholas Birch, Demetri Demeropoulos and Nicholas Mazzilli notified the district earlier this year that they intended to sue. No lawsuits had been filed by Dec.. 23, according to statements from law offices representing the students families' claims. 

DEC inspectors found the softball field and practice field to be contaminated with "nonexempt" material in 1999 and issued a violation to the school district. The fields became contaminated in 1998 when Whitney Trucking reportedly deposited about 100,000 cubic yards of fill that did not meet DEC requirements. The board chose to close the fields in 2010 without a request from the DEC, board members said previously.

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Considering the fact that the neighboring Valhalla school district was offered the same contaminated fill by by the same illegal carter, ran the deal by the County Department of Health, was advised to turn it down and did. Briarcliff knew or should have known to do the same. But in the world of government education it is all about the money, the control and making compliant servants of the state. Don't expect anyone in government education to be held accountable, they never are.

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