Summer renters and visitors typically leave a trail of garbage across Southampton Town roadways, beaches and parklands as they depart after Labor Day weekend, as well as the weekend after that.
Throughout the summer, especially after busy weekends, Town Highway Department crews find town-owned garbage cans at public beaches and parks stuffed, overstuffed and surrounded with bags of household garbage dumped by those trying to avoid garbage disposal fees, or trips to the remote transfer stations.
But after Labor Day, Town Highway Superintendent Alex Gregor said last week, the problem reaches its dirty crescendo.
“Right after Labor Day, we get mattresses, box springs, furniture, lamps, mirrors, dressers lying all over,” Mr. Gregor said. “The white kitchen garbage bags just left on the side of the road or at town properties. It’s like all the rental units just clean up and empty everything inside, all their garbage, onto our streets.”
Mr. Gregor said that his crews have been making more of an effort to identify at least some of the offenders. He said that some of the bags left on town land have been opened up and searched for evidence of whose household they may have come from—a tactic that has led to at least one homeowner being reported to code enforcement officers.
The department also has motion-sensitive cameras, the type used by hunters to spy on wild game movements prior to hunting seasons, mounted in trees at secluded properties in the town that are common targets for illegal dumpers. Those cameras caught one person dumping what appears to be a simple kitchen bag of trash on a town-owned parcel of parkland in North Sea. Mr. Gregor lamented that a tree branch obscured the offender’s license plate number.
The worst areas for the illicit dumping, the highway superintendent said, were Foster Road, Red Creek Road and Lighthouse Road in Hampton Bays, Jones Road in East Quogue, and Boathouse Road in Shinnecock Hills. He said that all of those roads are in neighborhoods with high numbers of summer renters, whom he blames for the callous disregard for their neighbors.
“I would say that our roadside garbage cans are 50-percent household garbage, not regular refuse from pedestrians walking by, all summer long,” Mr. Gregor said. “From Memorial Day until a week after Labor Day, we pick up illegally dumped garbage every day in Bridgehampton, Hampton Bays, East Quogue and Flanders—wherever the rental houses are.”