Sand and Gravel Mining

Industrial Sand and gravel mining is having a devastating environmental impact in Southeastern Massachusetts our area, causing habitat destruction, soil erosion, and air and water pollution. We must act now to preserve our land so that our water is not compromised in future.

Mining activities destroy and alter the natural habitat of wildlife and plant species, especially as the forested land above the sand is stripped of native trees and vegetation. Extraction of sand and gravel leads to the destruction of wetlands, rivers, streams, and other aquatic habitats. Sand and gravel mining can also cause soil erosion, which can lead to the loss of valuable topsoil and other nutrients essential for plant growth.

Mining activities can also lead to silica dust emissions, which have negative impacts on air quality and respiratory health. Many residents in neighborhoods impacted by nearby mining activities in the area find their homes, cars, and property covered in hazardous silica dust. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), silica dust can lead to lung disease, kidney disease, chronic pulmonary disease and cancer if inhaled into the lungs.

Sand mine on AD Makepeace property off Federal Road, Carver


The use of heavy machinery and vehicles during sand and gravel mining can cause sedimentation and erosion in nearby water bodies. Sedimentation can lead to decreased water quality and oxygen levels, which can harm aquatic organisms. Our soils are made up of this sand. Soil plays a crucial role in filtering and purifying water. The structure of soil allows it to trap and hold pollutants, while its porous nature allows water to percolate through it. As the water moves through the soil, it is filtered by the soil particles, which remove impurities, such as sediment, organic matter, and dissolved minerals. Soil also contains microorganisms that help to break down and remove pollutants from the water. Soil works to naturally clean and filter water before it enters an aquifer, helping to maintain the quality and quantity of the groundwater resources that we rely on for drinking water. When we remove our soil, we remove the filter for our aquifer.

According to the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP), sand is the second most mined resource on earth, second only behind water. Sand is a valuable natural resource that we must manage and conserve if we are going to have enough for future generations. According to the UNEP, we must switch to improved practices for resource extraction, especially where it has the potential to cause erosion, harm rivers and streams, and water supply.

Aggregate mining companies such as A.D. Makepeace, E.J. Pontiff, Alex Johnson Cranberry and others take advantage of right-to-farm laws and the history of farming in our communities. They apply for weak agricultural permits that allow them to extract hundreds of thousands of cubic yards of sand underneath our feet and sell it for millions of dollars to construction companies.