State Legislation Would Prohibit Mining Over Aquifers


New York State Senator Kenneth P. LaValle and Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr., have introduced legislation that would prohibit state agencies including the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation from processing or approving permits or permit renewals for sand mining when the mine is located in a waste facility. The legislation applies only to Suffolk and Nassau counties, as they are primarily served by an underground sole source aquifer and was introduced in response to documented cases of groundwater contamination.

“We are confronting drinking water contamination problems across Long Island from a multitude of sources, including emerging chemicals such as PFOS, PFOA, and 1, 4 dioxane; industrial uses; sand mines; and waste processing facilities. We must protect our only clean source of drinking water,” said Assemblyman Thiele. “When it is determined that the co-location of high intensity land uses are contaminating the environment, we must end those practices to better protect our water. Sand mines over our drinking water supply strip away the buffer and filter for clean drinking water. When waste facilities are co-located with sand mines, it is inevitable that pollution from waste facilities is likely to occur. The co-location of sand mines and waste facilities is a risk we cannot take.”

“It’s critically important that as we continue to take steps to keep our waters clean we also stop contaminants whenever we can from entering our aquifer,” said Mr. LaValle. “The measures we have undertaken to keep our waters pristine are meaningless if we continue to allow the processing of waste directly above our primary source of drinking water. This bill would halt that incomprehensible action.”

Environmental Conservation committees are reviewing the legislation. If enacted, it would take effect immediately.