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Lab Report Shows Poison at Jay House, Parks Commish Said Soil Was Safe

Jay House Poison Dirt 

(PHOTO: The Westchester Parks Department placed this fill on the grounds of the Jay Heritage Center in January. In addition to numerous plastic bottles including a Pennzoil container, metal piping, tin foil food tin, plastic coated electrical wire, plastic bags, tree stumps and drinking straws, the fill also contains chemical poisons and should be removed from the property, according to an independent report.)

In January, MyRye.com told you about the mess the Westchester County Parks department was making over at Rye's Jay Heritage Center, a National Historic Landmark site (see Jay Heritage Center: County Parks Department Reckless with History).

It turns out in addition to the Westchester Parks Department driving trucks in fragile areas and conducting shabby maintenance, the parks people have dumped fill (dirt) on the property that is filled with high levels of poison, according to an independent lab hired by Jay Heritage. Even worse, the Parks Department has apparently used similar fill at Playland and Edith Read Sanctuary and the Parks Commissioner Joe Stout told the Jay people in January "the fill is safe".

According to Jay Hertitage President Suzanne Clary "The JHC asked an independent lab to test the fill materials. The report confirms what JHC suspected and Westchester County Parks has denied on at least 3 different occasions – the fill is dirty. Levels of SVOCs, pesticides (like DDT and chlordane) and metals, including arsenic, lead and chromium found in the fill exceed NYDEC standards for unrestricted community usage of the site, standards formulated to protect human health, groundwater and ecological resources."

Joe Stout, Westchester County Parks and Conservation Commissioner, in an email to JHC President, Suzanne Clary and NYSOPRHP (New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation) on January 25, 2010 said "Regarding the fill itself, it is from soil whose origins are at Playland. The fill is also used for projects at Playland and Edith Read Sanctuary. We are confident that the fill is safe." An article in the Journal News on January 26th by reporter Theresa Juva said "County Parks spokesman Peter Tartaglia says the dirt was taken from Rye Playland and isn't toxic." 

The independent report, from engineering and environmental science company FPM Group, closes by saying "These materials [the poisoned fill] should be properly removed and disposed if the areas are to be used for their intended purpose."

Read the FPM Group report.



  1. Hat’s off to Mrs. Clary!

    Congratulations in trusting your instincts when told by someone from New York State or Westchester County government that something is “environmentally safe.”

    “The fill is safe” – “We are confident that the fill is safe” – “The dirt was taken from Rye Playland and isn’t toxic.”

    Now watch what happens next. The consultant Mrs. Clary used to run the tests will likely be smeared and discounted and her own motivations for distrusting the word of a paycheck government official will be called into question. The whispers…will begin.

    Mrs. Clary, we who have fought these battles before salute you. Please be reminded of these similar officious utterances…and take heart –

    “There are no health, safety or building violations on Hen Island.” “All FOIL requests submitted to Rye City Hall are processed promptly and in full compliance with the law.” “The old man is crazy, his water went to God.”


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