The latest photos allege illegal operations at the Sand Land mine.

Enviros Call It A Dangerous Tragedy

Environmentalists charged this week that despite test results depicting significant contamination to the aquifer beneath the Sand Land mine in Noyac, allegedly illegal operations continue. The mine is not permitted to operate as a dumpsite, yet photographs taken on March 27 by operatives retained by the Group for the East End and the Citizens Campaign for the Environment show otherwise.

Photos appear to show trucks dumping loads of vegetative waste, materials arriving from off site for illegal processing, C&D debris being tipped into a pile, and the processing and storing of topsoil. All these activities are outside the parameters of the site’s state permits.

GEE president Bob DeLuca and CCE executive director Adrienne Esposito distributed the date-stamped photos. DeLuca offered a caption: “What Will It Take? Is Anybody In Charge? Anybody see any sand mining or site reclamation going on?”

Sand Land has applied for permits to expand its operation, noting that there’s no more sand available to mine. Enviros, electeds such as Assemblyman Fred Thiele, and neighbors such as the Noyac Civic Council have long pushed for a state or local look at the site’s operations. They allege illegal dumping has persisted, unchecked by authorities, for a decade.

Armed with a court order, health department officials sampled water under the site and found a slew of contaminants — many of them associated with dumping, not mining. Results released last month validated suspicions about illegal dumping at the site. County health officials are now in the process of testing neighbors’ wells.

“Despite significant contamination emanating from this site, which is located in a drinking water protection area, neither Southampton Town nor the State of New York has shown the conviction necessary to stop the pollution and protect our drinking water — and that is a tragedy,” DeLuca said.

Southampton Town and the State Department of Environmental Conservation both have the authority to monitor operations at the mine. Said Esposito, “When government treats crime that pollute our drinking water with the same level of concern as crimes that inflict bodily harm, then we will be adequately protected.

Turning a blind eye to drinking water contamination is akin to turning your back on a mugger. It’s dangerous.”

The test results revealed “a stew of contamination,” Thiele rebuked the DEC, stating it “utterly failed to protect the public.”

And as for the town?

Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman was asked about the photos this week. He said simply, “We’re looking into it.”
Attorneys for Sand Land did not return requests for comment.

(To read full coverage of the test results, click here.)

kmerrill@indyeastend.com