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Long Island

Sand mine owners block county’s access to Bridgehampton site

A sand mining operation in Bridgehampton is not allowing the Suffolk County Health Department access to its grounds to test for on-site water contamination, county officials confirmed yesterday.

According to a spokeswoman from the Suffolk County Health Department, department officials have hit a standstill in gaining access to the 50-acre Sand Land site, which is in one of nine state-designated Special Groundwater Protection Areas on Long Island.

Residents near the site and environmental groups have previously expressed concerns that materials processed on the site could potentially contaminate groundwater in surrounding communities.

According to department spokeswoman Grace Kelly-McGovern, officials have attempted to go onto the site but have been turned away by the site’s owners, Wainscott Sand & Gravel.

“Whatever agreement was intact, they rescinded on,” Kelly-McGovern said yesterday.

Health department officials have since referred the matter to the Suffolk County attorney’s office, Kelly-McGovern said, adding that the county “will take whatever steps they need to take to get on the property and test the water.”

Neither the Suffolk County attorney’s office nor officials at Wainscott Sand & Gravel returned calls for comment yesterday.

Adrienne Esposito, director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment, said yesterday that she is troubled by the sand mining operation’s refusal to allow county workers to test water for contamination.

“This is not acceptable. The health department is charged with protecting public health,” Esposito said. “We’re at the stage now where we really need the health department to be aggressive” on health concerns surrounding groundwater contamination from the site, she added.

In April, the state Supreme Court upheld a 2012 ruling by Southampton Town’s Zoning Board of Appeals that prohibits Wainscott Sand & Gravel from processing yard waste and construction debris at the Bridgehampton site.

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