Leaders want mining operation shut down after water contamination report

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Civic and local leaders want a Suffolk sand mine shut down following a county health department report about suspected water contamination.

Testing at the site of the Sand Land mining and mulching operation in Noyack shows contaminants in the aquifer below. The report says the mulching and composting at Sand Land has had "significant adverse impacts" on groundwater, where elevated levels of metals beyond drinking water standards have been found. Among the contaminants found were manganese and lead.

Lawmakers, environmentalists and community members today called on the Department of Environmental Conservation and Gov. Andrew Cuomo to shut the mulching operation down and not renew a license to operate in November.

“This facility needs to be shut down, the permits need to be revoked and we need to clean up this location,” says Assemblyman Fred Thiele.

Civic leader Elena Loreto has spent a decade sounding the alarm about the suspected groundwater contamination.

"We knew that something would eventually seep down and it has," says Loreto.

In a statement obtained by News 12, attorneys for Sand Land said the report is inconclusive and full of inaccuracies. They added that Sand Land finds it troubling that none of the officials expressed concern about the "three facilities operated by the Town of Southampton ... that process and store mulch and compost and are located within the Aquifer and Groundwater Protection Area." Click HERE to read their full response.

Loreto calls Sand Land's response negligent.

"This is our water," says Loreto. "You can't live without water."

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