Ilya Marritz covers business for WNYC.
Shortly after Sandy hit, Insurance Auto Auctions leased the two runways at Calverton Airpark, on Eastern Long Island. Tens of thousands of cars are now collecting at the airport, while they await auction.
Environmentalists, however, worry the cars could be leaking lubricants and other harmful chemicals into the water supply.
Tens of thousands of people depend on the surrounding Pine Bines aquifer for drinking water. The aquifer is under the protection of the independent Central Pine Barrens Commission.
The Supervisor of the town of Riverhead says there is very little risk in parking the damaged cars on paved surfaces. The town will collect $1.7 million in rent if the airport remains an active storage site for a full six months.
Correction: An earlier version of this story suggested that the independent commission that oversees the water supply could take action against the town of Riverhead, the owner of the Airpark. The Central Pine Barrens Commission is considering fines or suing a private landowner within the core preservation area who is storing Sandy-damaged cars. Calverton Airpark's runways are outside of the core preservation area.