"This thing leaks already; it cannot do what it was constructed to do. The toxic waste is still down in there, and will continue to slip silently into the groundwater. This cap will not stop that, but it will require millions and more millions of dollars just to keep up appearances. It looks like the people in the landfill remediation business will be cleaning up for a long time to come. Our children and our children’s children will be tending this lethal garden forever."
- Dave Kuba, Middletown High School class of 1997,
standing on the Wallkill dump in the final shot of the documentary.
Documentary transcript with footnotes
Not Now, The Kids Are Watching, Columbia Journalism Review, 5/94
High School Class Exposes Toxic Dump, NY Times, 11/95
Toxic Avengers, The Independent Film and Video Monthly, 6/01 (page 2, page 3)
Toxic Avengers, Audubon Magazine, 3/02
Teenagers take on the mob.
In the summer of 1991, Middletown High School television journalism teacher Fred Isseks received a tip that local landfill workers had witnessed illegal dumping. Over the next few years, he and his students began an investigation that exposed corruption in the waste-hauling business and linked several officials with organized crime. Their work attracted media attention from around the world as well as the notice of law enforcement agencies. To this day, however, the issue largely remains "buried."
Only a generation after Middletown High School students produced their award winning documentary, most of New York State's inactive hazardous waste sites have been neglected and forgotten.