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Feb 3, 2019 6:32 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

East Hampton Town Says Amagansett Dust Situation Has Improved

Dust rose over and beyond the farm field last month in Amagansett.    KYRIL BROMLEY
Feb 5, 2019 11:31 AM

Tests on airborne topsoil particles emanating from farms neighboring Main Street in Amagansett have come back and show no sign of pesticides or health hazards, according to a release from East Hampton Town officials on Friday.

In addition, the amount of dusty topsoil that seems to have been blown into every crevice of the hamlet has been reduced, thanks to efforts by farmers and town officials. The problem was solved by covering the windblown fields with straw and using snow fencing to keep the straw in place.

Town Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc said in the release that on recent windy days, the straw has been successful in largely eliminating the swirling particulates that had caused concern. In addition, town highway and maintenance crews have removed dust deposits that had built up along Amagansett’s streets and sidewalks.

“We share residents’ concerns about the recent dust storms in Amagansett,” Mr. Van Scoyoc said. “I am gratified that our agreed-upon solution appears to be working and am pleased that the Town Board was able to work together to achieve this result. We will continue to monitor the field conditions and take necessary actions to ensure that this doesn’t happen again.”

At the town’s request, and with the permission of Barry Bistrian, the farmland’s owner, soil samples were taken and tested for the presence of pesticides as well as of metals, a number of which are commonly found in Long Island’s agricultural soils.

The tests found no pesticides and the metals that were detected were at levels well below state standards, according to Friday’s release.

Amagansett residents and merchants had said last month that the dust was infiltrating houses and businesses, posing potential damage to equipment and raising health concerns. Mr. Van Scoyoc met last month with Mr. Bistrian, Peter Dankowski, who leases and farms the land, Mr. Bistrian’s son Patrick, and others, among them Alex Balsam, a farmer who heads the town’s Agricultural Advisory Committee, and Corey Humphrey, the Suffolk County Soil and Water Conservation District manager, to develop short- and long-term strategies to address the situation.

The test results are posted on the town website at ehamptonny.gov.

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