Editorial: Where does Brookhaven’s garbage go from here?

Editorial: Where does Brookhaven’s garbage go from here?

Brookhaven landfill sign. Photo by Samantha Ruth

The Town of Brookhaven landfill, a titan of our local landscape, casts a long shadow over our future. While the initial plan promised its closure by 2024, the recent extension for incinerator ash disposal leaves us in a state of uncertainty. This reprieve begs a crucial question: What is the actual plan for the landfill, and where will our garbage go?

Residents deserve clarity. We’ve been told the landfill, nearing capacity, would soon reach its final chapter. Now, faced with a year or two extension, we’re left wondering: Is this a temporary fix or a signpost to a longer life for the landfill?

Beyond the timeline, the elephant in the room is ash disposal. Accepting Covanta’s waste may solve its immediate problem, but at what cost? Have the potential environmental impacts been thoroughly assessed? Are we simply swapping one set of concerns for another?

Perhaps most importantly, where is the long-term vision for waste management? Is this extension just a stopgap measure, or is there a concrete plan for a sustainable future beyond the landfill’s life span? We haven’t heard much about exploring alternatives like recycling, composting or waste-to-fuel technologies. Shouldn’t these be at the forefront of the conversation?

The Town Board owes it to residents to provide a comprehensive plan, not just piecemeal extensions. We need to know how the extension fits into the bigger picture, what alternatives are being explored and when  we can expect a clear roadmap for the future.

This isn’t just about the landfill’s closure date, it’s about responsible waste management for generations to come. While there has been a lot of discussion, this postponement raises doubts about a future course. Residents seek transparency, clear communication and a commitment to solutions that prioritize both environmental health and responsible waste disposal. Until then, we’ll remain in limbo, watching the shadow of the landfill grow longer – and wondering where our waste will ultimately end up.