BRIDGEHAMPTON - Residents and environmentalists on the South Fork are hoping to halt a proposal that would expand a sand-mining operation.

The 30-acre sand mine has been in operation in Bridgehampton since the early 1960s. The owner is looking to add 5 more acres to the operation, plus dig 40 feet deeper under the ground.

Neighbors are hoping the state Department of Environmental Conservation rejects the proposal. Residents and environmentalists have expressed concerns about potential impacts on the groundwater.

Neighbors also complain that the operation brings truck traffic, noise and dust. Critics say that in recent years, the operation also started taking in construction debris and turning landscape material into mulch.

An attorney for the owner of the sand mine argues that they have obtained all proper permits and that the operation poses no threat to the environment.

However, environmentalists argue that large quantities of mulch can contribute to groundwater contamination.

It's now up to the DEC to accept or reject the proposal. A 30-day public comment period on the issue has ended.