MANORVILLE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- Some cagey scofflaws have chosen the precious woods among the 100,000 acres of protected Pine Barrens land as their personal dumping ground. They apparently don't want to pay for the proper disposal of toxic materials.
Police told CBS2's Jennifer McLogan on Monday that they need help from the public to catch the suspects.
Not far from the trail center, just off the Long Island Expressway service road in Manorville, a young couple may have never guessed that on the edge of the cherished woods
a camera would catch them flouting and violating the law, junking and abandoning barrels filled with toxic material.
"Long Island is facing a water quality crisis. Our purest water is beneath the Pine Barrens and to have people irresponsibly going out and dumping poisonous chemicals into the ground is absolutely irresponsible," said Richard Amper of the Pine Barrens Society.
Discarded were barrels of antifreeze, windshield wiper solution and other automotive materials containing heavy metals, which can leech and travel underground.
"They should definitely be caught. They should either be fined or do community service to understand the importance and danger of what they did," school teacher Beth Feinman said.
With secluded dead ends and empty roads in the Pine Barrens, those who want to cheat the system and avoid disposal fees dump debris right into the woods and flee, CBS2's McLogan reported.
Law enforcement reported a surge from May to October in Pine Barrens dumping of household, demolition and construction debris -- not to mention a boat -- above the fragile aquifer, Long Island's sole source of drinking water.
"We shouldn't let a selfish group of people take away something that we all value and we all love, and something that we've all paid for," said Adrienne Esposito of the Citizens Campaign for the Environment.
A portion of Suffolk County sales taxes goes to preserve open space.
"The sludge is going into the water supply," one concerned resident said.
"It could hurt the animals," a little girl added.
Police said the duo dumped the barrels in May and escaped in a white F-150 truck with an extended cab.
"We are having a major crisis in the environment right now, so we all need to be more cognizant. There should be harder and tougher laws," Long Island merchant Sunita Mahtani said.
Suffolk police are urging anyone with anonymous tips to call in, offering a $5,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest.
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