Landscaping Costs More Than Course Hoped

When the Indian Head Golf Course brought in clean fill to use for landscaping purposes last November, they probably didn’t realize how much it would cost in the end. The fill – intended for berm construction – wasn’t clean at all but contaminated with Benzo-a-Pyrene and other Polynuclear Aromatic Hydrocarbons, all carcinogenic substances.

After the material was shipped to the course, the neighboring Smithtown Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) became suspicious of the fill and decided to have it tested. Although the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation stated the fill’s polution levels were within acceptable levels, Smithtown DEP worried about eventual airborne contaminants.

The town asked Indian Head to remove the fill. Russ Barnett, director of Smithtown DEP, told Cybergolf that the fill has not yet been removed, nor has the golf course responded to the request.

“We have correspondence from our end dating back to the end of last year,” said Barnett of communications between the town and the course. When asked how long the course had to remove the potentially harmful materials from its property, Barnett couldn’t comment, saying the issue was “currently in enforcement action by local environmental officials.”

Barnett also stressed the importance of purchasing clean fill from a reliable source. “Those wishing to build on their courses for aesthetic purposes need to make sure of the quality of the material being used,” he said. “People engaged in landscaping or those facilities requiring landscaping services may not necessarily be aware of the potential hazards. They really need to be on guard.”