EnvironmentGovernmentThe Examiner

North Castle Hires Environmental Experts to Advise on Road Millings

We are part of The Trust Project

Dogged by a loud chorus of residents questioning the safety of storing road millings, the North Castle Town Board introduced its new environmental engineer and counsel last week in hopes of putting fears to rest.

Officials also authorized going out to bid to remove the remainder of the material, also referred to as recycled asphalt product (RAP), from the Middle Patent Road highway yard and at the town highway department in Armonk.

Two weeks earlier the board hired Nicholas Ward-Willis, an attorney with environmental expertise, from Keane & Beane. Ward-Willis has brought in Ryan Manderbach, an environmental engineer with Langan Engineering, who will evaluate the millings sites, whether the town has been following regulations and to make any suggestions, if needed. They are expected to report their findings to the town at the board’s next meeting on Oct. 13.

“Although the town is comfortable that our practices are consistent with New York State DEC, some issues have been raised and some allegations have been made about the storage of the road millings,” said Supervisor Michael Schiliro. “Therefore, at our last meeting, we hired the environmental attorney who has retained an environmental engineer and so they can provide additional guidance to the town on these issues.”

The millings have been stored by the town during the last four or five years as it has embarked on an aggressive road repaving program that will see all 93 miles of town road resurfaced by next year. Instead of paying for the millings to be hauled away once it comes off the roads, the town has stored it and recycled it for use on its own roads as well as allowing other jurisdictions to use the material.

In 2017, local developer Michael Fareri, who has had multiple run-ins with town officials on a variety of issues, first questioned whether the storage of millings posed an environmental risk or jeopardized the quality of nearby water supplies. This year, Windmill Farm resident Bob Greene, a former town Planning Board chairman, ramped up the apprehension through a series of town-wide e-mails to residents.

They have inquired whether thousands of cubic yards of millings stored not far from wells might pose a danger to drinking water at Windmill Farm and at the nearby Coman Hill Elementary School.

Ward-Willis said highway crews from various levels of government have used millings in a similar fashion. They are not considered a solid waste because the DEC wants to avoid having the material end up in landfills since they can be re-used to make fresh asphalt, he said.

“This is a fairly typical standard use of road millings and asphalt,” Ward-Willis said. “It’s not uncommon, it’s not something that’s unique to your town or this region.”

Manderbach said there are ways to properly store millings but there are variables such as the type of site and the material itself.

“You follow what’s called best management practices and these vary,” he said. “They’re not the same; they’re not a cookie-cutter.”

Greene said a group of residents are willing to pitch in and pay for their own environmental consultant, Sterling International. They would need the town’s permission to gain access to the facility and the material to have it analyzed.

“We would like to do an analysis independent of what Keane & Beane and what their consultants are doing,” Greene said “Who knows, they can all agree. But if they don’t, that presents a different situation for this community to swallow, and I think it’s worth at least getting two opinions.”

Another resident, Jennifer Clark, called on the board to have three independent analyses done to be safe.

Concerns have arisen of the possible emergence of iron algae that could seep into groundwater. Manderbach said that the algae would be treated by chlorine while the iron could be mitigated with carbon filtering.

We'd love for you to support our work by joining as a free, partial access subscriber, or by registering as a full access member. Members get full access to all of our content, and receive a variety of bonus perks like free show tickets. Learn more here.