To the editor:
Last year South End residents who drive past it on Lynwood Center Road may have noticed an increase in activity at the Triangle sandpit which is located at the intersection with Fletcher Bay Road.
For many decades the Scotch broom-covered mounds at this site have mostly been used by local dog walkers and dirt bikers. This changed dramatically last summer when a pit more than an acre wide and deep enough to come in close contact with an underlying aquifer was dug.
Since then huge quantities of sand that should have been used to mitigate past mining at the site have been removed and even larger quantities of un-inspected fill have been dumped into the new pit and spread over adjacent areas.
We estimate the cost of remediating the damage to the aquifer now exceeds $500,000 and could turn out to be much more when the full extent of required mitigation is determined.
The State Department of Natural Resources assumed responsibility for regulating activity at this site in 2009 but the they have failed to protect it. It was shocking to learn that, for more than a decade, DNR has failed to enforce major permit conditions at the site that were intended to protect our aquifer.
Of equal concern DNR has allowed current mining to occur without any environmental review or mitigation plan. This is a clear violation of state law (specifically the state Environmental Policy Act or SEPA) which requires that impacts of projects be considered and addressed prior to their start. DNR’s regulatory inaction now threatens the aquifer that is the only source of water for many area wells.
We hope fellow residents will join us in urging the city to resume lead responsibility for regulating activity at this site. State law allows it. Environmental protection requires it.
MICHAEL SHERRY, WENDY TYNER AND NICK MASLA