Controversial Sand Land mine to close within 8 years as part of state agreement

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A controversial sand mine on the East End where groundwater contamination was detected will have to close down as part of a new agreement with the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

The Sand Land mine is allowed operate in Noyack for eight more years. For years, different groups and residents have been fighting to close the mine for good.

According to the Town of Southampton and environmentalists, illegal activities were taking place at the mine for years, including the production and sale of mulch and topsoil.

Under the agreement, DEC officials say Sand Land must immediately stop the acceptance of vegetated waste to protect water quality, implement an extensive groundwater monitoring program and prevent any horizontal expansion of the mine.

Adrienne Esposito, Citizens Campaign for the Environment, says it's a complete reversal from a few months ago, when Sand Land was mandated to close and was denied an expansion.

Also under the agreement, the company cannot expand the overall size of the mine, but it can dig down an additional 40 feet.

Bob DeLuca, head of the Group for the East End, says the Suffolk Health Department found that the 50-acre site had contaminated the groundwater with heavy metals and toxins. He questions why the state would give the mine eight more years to operate.

News 12 repeatedly reached out to the company but did not hear back. But Brian Matthews, an attorney representing the company, told Newsday that the settlement is fair. He said it strikes a balance between his client's rights to conduct mining on the property, the department's obligation to ensure that it is done properly and everyone's interest in protecting the groundwater from contamination.

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