A former Long Island landfill in Southampton Town is expected to be the site of a future community solar installation. The East Quogue landfill, which made headlines for its record levels of “forever chemics” in 2018, has been planned for cleanup to make way for a new solar facility designed to help the local community.
During the Oct. 13 board meeting, the town voted unanimously to approve the cleanup of the site. The vote led to the signing of a Brownfield Site Cleanup Agreement with New York State, making it the first landfill on Long Island to become part of the program. The Brownfield Site Cleanup Agreement provides incentives to towns that take action against contamination sites and help reduce the higher levels of perfluorinated chemicals. The program was enacted by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) in July 2020.
To actively participate in the program, Southampton will have to investigate the severity of the contamination within the East Quogue landfill. According to the DEC, the town is financially responsible for the investigation and cleanup, but the organization will oversee every step to ensure it’s completed properly. As of the time of the agreement the Long Island town, no cost had been determined.
In the landfill space, Southampton Town is looking at installing a 1.75-megawatt community solar installation. The facility, which would provide solar energy to homeowners and small businesses, would take up much of the 10-acres of property at the landfill.
Should the town move forward with a community solar farm, power generated at the facility would be filtered out to residents and businesses. Subscribers would pay a nominal fee to take part in the program and receive energy generated from their specified unit. In exchange for taking part in the conservation efforts, subscribers would also receive a credit toward their monthly utility bill.
The East Quogue location’s cleanup comes after a new drinking water standard was adopted in July 2020. New York State determined that local water should have less than ten parts per trillion of perfluorooctane sulfonate and perfluorooctanoic acid compounds. A 2018 test determined that perfluorooctane sulfonate compounds were at 11,200 parts per trillion or just over 1,000 times the standard.