Got It Wrong
The reporting in the article “Calls For Better Mine Oversight After County Investigation” [27east.com, October 8] is inaccurate and irresponsible.
Nothing in the county’s recent grand jury report involved Sand Land in any respect. That report dealt with instances of fraud and the criminal conduct of individuals accepting contaminated fill material and intentionally selling it to unsuspecting homeowners as uncontaminated fill material. Never once has Sand Land been remotely accused of such criminal activity.
It is clear from the article that the author not only did not read the grand jury report but was also either willfully or negligently unaware of the facts.
The article also incorrectly states that the legislation now being proposed by Senator Kenneth LaValle and Assemblyman Fred Thiele “stemmed from the case of Sand Land.” If Mr. Thiele has, in fact, claimed that the grand jury report involves Sand Land or that the legislation proposed in that report was directed toward Sand Land, the author is obligated to attribute that quote to Mr. Thiele. However, any such claim would be false, as the newly proposed legislation stemmed from the grand jury report, a fact that is again easily confirmed through a simple reading of the report itself.
Further, the newly proposed legislation deals with the acceptance of acute hazardous and hazardous waste, and the undertaking of mining activities without a permit from the State Department of Environmental Conservation. Once again, Sand Land had never accepted any such hazardous waste, and it has held an DEC-issued mining permit for nearly 40 years.
On the issue of the supposed “contamination” of the soils and groundwater at Sand Land, what has been inexcusably omitted from each and every article in this publication is the fact that the studies conducted by the Suffolk County Department of Health Services specifically concluded that “water quality results obtained to date indicate that all of the private wells sampled [surrounding Sand Land] met all drinking water standards and have not indicated any VOWM related water quality impacts.”
The DEC has also expressly confirmed that neither the groundwater under, nor the sand and soils on, Sand Land’s property are in any way contaminated. In papers filed with the court, the DEC has made the following assertions: “The Department fundamentally disagrees with the integrity, accuracy and reliability of the County’s investigation. … There is no scientific support for the claim that Sand Land is threatening the aquifer, even in the County’s report.”
Finally, while the claim that there is a correlation between vegetative organic waste and groundwater contamination is still being advanced, to date Sand Land is the only company that has ceased the receipt and processing of vegetative organic waste.
Brian E. Matthews, Esq.
Matthews, Kirst & Cooley, PLLC
Mr. Matthews wrote on behalf of Sand Land Corporation and Wainscott Sand and Gravel Corporation, which are his firm’s clients — Ed.
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