Applaud Decision to Protect Precious Aquifer

Fresh water

Target: Keith Goertz, Regional Director of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

Goal: Praise the decision to protect freshwater by denying the expansion of a mulch management operation.

Fresh drinking water is safe from a sand mine and mulch management business that wanted to expand operations on top of an important freshwater aquifer. This vital aquifer provides drinking water to thousands of residents. Thank the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) for denying the company’s request for expansion.

Known locally as Sand Land, the Noyac Sand Mine has operated in New York State for decades. Since the site is no longer being mined for gravel and sand, the area is used for mulch and composting operations as well as a waste facility for the company’s other gravel mining sites. Sand Land wanted to expand operations by 4.9 acres and dig 50 feet deeper. This might seem like a harmless expansion but the site’s location is right on top of the county’s largest freshwater aquifer. If the mine were to expand, the groundwater could be jeopardized.

A few months ago, the Long Island DEC actually approved this expansion without an environmental impact review. The decision caused an uproar of advocates demanding that an environmental assessment be conducted. As a result, the Albany DEC conducted an assessment and determined that this site should not be expanded upon because of the risk of groundwater contamination and the company’s frequent violations. Operations that deal with mulch and compost could easily contaminate groundwater if precautionary measures aren’t put in place. The water could be exposed to heavy metals, carcinogens, and pesticides.

From 2009-2015, Sand Land received 21 violations based on lousy worker safety conditions. If this company doesn’t even care about its workers, then there is no way it can be trusted to care about the environment. Thank Albany’s DEC for taking a second look at this company’s expansion permit and denying it. New York’s drinking water is protected from this progressive decision.


Dear Regional Director Goertz,

Sand Land’s operation in New York is not safe for workers or the area’s aquifer. The aquifer that is below Sand Land’s site provides drinking water for New York’s East End. If you did not take a second look at the mine’s expansion plan, precious freshwater could have easily been contaminated.

Thank you so much for denying this mine’s permit to expand. Operations that deal with mulch and compost could easily contaminate groundwater with heavy metals, carcinogens, and pesticides. With Sand Land’s horrible worker safety record, this company could not be trusted to protect its workers and the environment. I applaud you for rejecting the expansion plan. I hope you continue to protect New York’s aquifers.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Lucy Hill via Flickr

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