Sand Land Mine and our Drinking Water


– August 12, 2018 –

*** URGENT CALL FOR ACTION ***

Decision on the Renewal of Sand Land Mine’s Permit is forthcoming...

Email or Call Gov. Cuomo

Governor Cuomo must be engaged to make sure the NYSDEC does its job of protecting our water: Request that Sand Land/Wainscott Sand & Gravel located in the Town of Southampton NOT be issued a renewed permit in November.

Gov. Cuomo needs to hear directly from the public.

NCC members should feel free to remind the Governor that:

  • Waste processing on the site is illegal under Town Code and supported by Court ruling
  • The mine is out of sand.
  • The operations at the site have already contaminated groundwater
  • The facility's operations threaten the drinking water in a State-designated Special Groundwater Protection Area.
  • Despite all of these objective realities, the Governor's DEC has done nothing but ignore the public while actively and willfully concealing readily observable problems at the site — despite irrefutable third party agency data (SCDHS) that the site is in fact contaminating the aquifer.

The aquifer is everyone’s source of water on the East End, even Suffolk County Water.

Note: The DEC has declined to attend our meetings, nor has anyone returned phone calls.


– July 2018 –

The area outlined in purple is the area that was offered free well testing by Suffolk County Health Department.

Sand Land Mine Sits atop our Sole Source Aquifer. Please read the Final Report from Suffolk County Department of Health Services. From the report:

Conclusions
The vegetative waste management activities on the Sand Land site have had significant adverse impacts to the groundwater. The analytical results from the groundwater samples indicate impacts of elevated metals concentrations (in particular manganese and iron) and other groundwater impacts that are consistent with results observed at other VOWM sites throughout Suffolk County1, which have been attributed to the VOWM activities performed at these sites. Detrimental groundwater impacts were observed at the Sand Land site despite the significant depth to groundwater (137 to 154 feet below grade). Additionally, data from wells installed on the site suggest the presence of downward vertical groundwater flow component, indicating this is a vital groundwater protection area. This also suggests that contaminants released on the site may flow into deeper portions of the aquifer.
Recommendations
The SCDHS should complete sampling of the private wells in the survey area to assess possible impacts to private drinking water wells to the west and northwest of the site. Based upon the groundwater information obtained in this investigation, and the results of the private well testing thus far, the extent of the private well survey area previously determined is appropriate.

Suffolk County Legislator Bridget Flemming released the following statement 6/29/18:

"This thorough report describes a groundwater investigation that is the culmination of years of effort by advocates and officials who have tenaciously fought for the protection of our invaluable aquifer, the sole source of drinking water on Long Island, and a critical resource for current and future residents. The report demonstrates definitively that the ongoing activities at this site are polluting our drinking water now and for future generations. The conclusions of the report must be met with swift action. The evidence shows significant negative groundwater impacts from the waste management activities occurring at the site, including manganese exceeding drinking water standards by almost 100 times and iron by over 200 times, as well as elevated levels of contaminants such as thallium, sodium, nitrate, ammonia and gross alpha, despite the significant depth to groundwater at the site. It is therefor imperative that the activity cease unless mitigation measures to effectively prevent groundwater impacts are identified and implemented.  
I am grateful to County Executive Steve Bellone, Commissioner Tomarken, and the entire SCDHS staff for their tenacious and highly professional pursuit of an accurate assessment of the groundwater impacts of the activities at the Sandland site. I look forward to continuing to work with officials at all levels of government to ensure that this unacceptable pollution of our drinking water source comes to an end.”

ACTIONS proposed by Assemblyman Fred Thiele:

All levels of government must act and must act now, the assemblyman demanded. He compiled a list of actions that must be taken immediately:

1. We cannot wait until April for the Suffolk County Department of Health Services to release its report on the contamination. The testing was done months ago and the SCDHS has had the raw data for weeks. Their report must be made public in the next two weeks.

2. The SCDHS must also begin to survey for contamination by testing all drinking wells that are down gradient of the contamination.

3. The State DEC must launch a full environmental investigation to determine the full extent of contamination at this location.

4. The State DEC must take action to stop the processing of vegetative waste and other industrial activities until the extent of the contamination is known.

5. The State DEC must reject any expansion of the sand mine at this location
6. The Southampton Town Supervisor must exercise his authority under State Law and inform the State DEC that mining is a prohibited activity under the Southampton Zoning Code.