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Riverhead Sues New York Regulators Over Mining Project

Jan Mallander from Pixabay

The Town of Riverhead on Long Island has sued the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation for permitting a sand mining operation when it's prohibited under local law.

The lawsuit was filed on January 26 against the DEC and the sand mining operator to appeal the state’s sand mining permit in Calverton.

The new project proposes a 8.5-acre lake to be dug up to 89 feet below groundwater level. The town is concerned that mining into the groundwater may contaminate well drinking water.

A report by the U.S. Geological Survey found pumping water in Nassau and Suffolk counties has lowered the water table and has caused salt water to move inland. Suffolk County water monitoring at other sand mining sites have found high concentrations of metals and other toxins in the drinking water.

The operators, CMA Mine LLC, applied for a state mining permit in 2019. The DEC was tasked with reviewing the project. Last September, the department found no project to have no negative environmental impacts to the surrounding area.

Town board members said they were not kept up-to-date with the status of the project.

In 1998, the town had sued the DEC for a similar sand mining project and the same project site. That same year, the town banned sand mining in Riverhead. The mining site has been in use since the 1930s and can navigate around town code.