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May 14, 2019 11:40 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Thiele And LaValle Introduce State Legislation That Could Force Sand Land's Closure

The Sand Land mining operation in the South Fork Morainal Forest in Southampton Town.  DANA SHAW
May 14, 2019 12:34 PM

Local representatives in Albany introduced legislation last week that could potentially shut down Sand Land, a mine in Noyac, within one year of the law going into effect.

Under the legislation, introduced by sponsors State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. and Senator Kenneth P. LaValle on Thursday, May 9, mining would be prohibited on contaminated sites within the state’s special groundwater protection areas, or SPGAs, to protect water quality. Sites are considered contaminated when its groundwater or drinking water exceeds federal or state standards for certain pollutants.

If approved and signed into law, it would affect nine SPGAs on Long Island. One of them is the South Fork Morainal Forest—where Sand Land is located—which runs from North Sea in Southampton to Amagansett in East Hampton.

Long Island’s SPGAs were designated by the state in 1987 to ensure that special measures can be taken to assure that water quality is protected in areas around sole-source aquifers.

The legislation would require mining operations to close within one year of the law’s effective date and the site to be reclaimed within two years after the mines closure.

It also would prohibit the State Department of Environmental Conservation from processing any application for mining on a contaminated site—which the agency is currently doing for Sand Land.

Mr. Thiele has long opposed Sand Land because its operations are believed to have contaminated the sole-source aquifer beneath the Noyac site. He currently is part of a lawsuit against Sand Land’s owners and the DEC, seeking to void a settlement agreement made between the two parties in March that allows mining operations to continue for another eight years, and to permit expansions of the mining area and depth.

“The DEC is not protecting our water—it is rewarding the polluters. This clearly violates the intent of the 1987 law,” Mr. Thiele said in a press release about the settlement agreement. “The State Legislature must step in to ensure SGPAs are protected and managed in such a way that maintains or improves existing water quality, as was intended back in 1987.”

Mr. LaValle added in a press release, “Ceasing mining activities where the water standards are exceeded, is essential to meet our goals. Our legislation is necessary to ensure a healthy water supply.”

The bill is currently before the State Legislature’s environmental conservation committees.

According to a report issued last July, testing of both surface and groundwater at the Sand Land site by the Suffolk County Department of Health Services found elevated levels of chemicals and contaminants in the groundwater, including manganese, iron, thallium, sodium, nitrate, ammonia and gross alpha, as well as pesticides found in surface water.

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Maybe they should put down a liner and open a landfill instead?
By V.Tomanoku (788), southampton on May 14, 19 4:32 PM
Do you wanna know what the best part of this idiot Fred thiele and Lavalle are? Every case of well pollution on the east end is from a farm. No not a cesspool a farm which is preserved as open space to ironically protect the environment. To close the mine is disingenuous and just a nimby idea.
By chief1 (2788), southampton on May 14, 19 5:24 PM
Great work, Fred Thiele and Ken Lavalle, much appreciated. Now that you’ve taken action to make the State DEC do its job with Sand Land, hopefully you can propose legislation to make the State DOT do its job with the ‘monuments’ on Sunrise Highway. In a place like this, the aesthetic environment is as important as the organic environment. You both know that as well as I do. Please help us with this as you’ve always helped us.
By Turkey Bridge (1966), Quiogue on May 14, 19 8:35 PM
1 member liked this comment
Using a governmental agency to close a business because you don't like it? This is disgusting Turkey Burger and now you think the government should use tricks to stop the Shinnecocks? Aren't you the Democratic head for the east end? Wow destroying your constituanit's at Its best.
By chief1 (2788), southampton on May 15, 19 2:18 AM
Fred Thiele learned about the NYS Special Groundwater Protection Law from me, when I shared with him a lawsuit where I represented Noyack residents in opposing Golf at the Bridge application to remove the aquifer protection zoning so the groundwater-contaminating exclusive-membership golf course could be developed.
At the time, in 1997, Fred was a devout Republican and towed the party line so he was gung-ho in his support to remove the protective zoning to facilitate the golf course ...more
By sak (6), sag harbor on May 16, 19 1:09 PM
Fred Thiele is try to shut down a local business because iron and manganese was found in the groundwater. The business no longer accepts the yard waste that allegedly caused the release of iron and manganese. We have Schniederman claiming that iron and manganese in Hampton Bays water is not a problem and only an aesthetic concern. Where is the disconnect. Is Jay lying or is Fred lying? Why is neither one concerned about the iron and manganese coming from the Hampton Bays transfer station? It is ...more
By TPFL (4), East Quogue on May 16, 19 1:22 PM