Dirt bikers are doing expensive and potentially catastrophic damage to the capped former garbage dump located behind the recycling center on Route 27 west of Montauk, according to East Hampton Town police.
Patrick Keller, the town’s sanitation supervisor, alerted police on Friday that at some point between March 31 and 7 a.m. last Thursday, a group of dirt bikers broke through the fence on the north side of the buried, capped mound of garbage, rode their bikes repeatedly to the peak, then raced back down the steeply inclined, stepped hill to the bottom of the sand pit, doing extensive damage to the vegetation that keeps the two feet of dirt covering the mound in place.
Mr. Keller, who has been sanitation supervisor for a little over a year, was making his weekly inspection of the cap last Thursday morning, driving around its perimeter, when he discovered the damage. Approximately 12 feet of fence had been removed, allowing the bikers clear sailing up and down the fragile mound. The grass and vegetation were gouged out with tire marks, leaving an eight-foot-wide dirt path going up the steep incline. “They couldn’t have chosen a worse place,” Mr. Keller said on Tuesday.
“They don’t realize what they’re doing. If [the vegetation] fails,” he said, “it will wash the top off, then it will slide, like an avalanche. You lose the vegetation, you could lose the liner.”
The estimated damage right now is $5,000. “I was with the contractor this morning,” said Mr. Keller, “and already the damage is $5,000. If you lose the liner it could go to $25,000, $30,000, or much higher.”
The repair requires a bit of luck along with the work involved. “They put a weave in and reseed it, and hopefully we get a growth on it before we catch some heavy rain.”
Mr. Keller understands the attraction to the bikers. “They don’t know what’s down there. They think it’s just a mountain. If I were a kid, I’d probably be doing the same thing.”
He hopes parents will educate their children about the danger to the town they could well be causing. “Try to make them understand what they are riding on,” he said.
“If the police caught one of these kids and the parents had to pay for it, you wouldn’t see any more dirt biking” on the mound, said the sanitation supervisor.