Thursday, May 13, 2021


The Debris Battle of 2018

Have you wondered where the “Old Morgan” debris was going? It might’ve been dumped and sorted here in Clinton if it were not for the fantastic work of a few who knew how detrimental this would be. Many of you may not know this history. In 2015, the owners of the old Unilever warehouse site on Route 145 floated the idea of building a dumping, sorting, and recycling center for demolition debris. This battle raged into 2018.

Neighbors, dedicated citizens, and experts realized that such a facility would be harmful to Clinton’s environment, quality of life, and future. An owner’s application went before the Inland Wetlands Commission (IWC). Predictably, the applicant brought in a parade of experts testifying to the low risk and precautions built into the project.

However they could not guarantee that pollutants would not be buried in the debris and that eventually these pollutants, due to fire or flooding, would not find its way into the ground water and Long Island Sound, destroying tidal wetlands. Neither could they mitigate the noise, dust, and road damaged caused by high levels of heavy truck traffic accessing and departing the site.

Our heroes arrived, fiercely fighting this with better experts. The battle’s venue was Morgan’s auditorium. Then came a victory as IWC denied the application in 2018. Later the Planning & Zoning Commission wisely adopted new regulations to permanently prevent this activity. The applicant predictably filed a lawsuit, which it later dropped.

We owe our gratitude to many; I’ll name a few: James Connelly, Eric Bergman, Darby Hittle, Pam Fritz, Kirk Carr, Herb Clark, and Norm Needleman. The debris is now being dumped around the state, but not here. There’s one remaining mystery. Why didn’t the Clinton County Club voice any opposition to this proposed project at its door?

Phil Sengle