Large deposits of sand and gravel can be valuable sources of construction materials. Because of their permeability, the ability to allow water to flow through, sand and gravel deposits also tend to be good sites for water supply wells. Permeability also makes sand and gravel deposits very vulnerable to contamination; once contaminants are spilled or dumped, they can quickly spread. Therefore, special attention should be given to regulating land uses over sand and gravel deposits.
Municipalities issue permits for gravel excavation under RSA 155E. The local regulator (usually the planning board) also has the authority to adopt regulations that apply to gravel excavation. These regulations, along with the process of reviewing permit applications for gravel removal areas, should be designed to ensure that fuels and lubricants used by earth moving equipment are handled properly and the areas are secured against illegal dumping.
Gravel pit owners should be reminded that future uses of the land could be limited if excavation extends too close to the water table. For example, if the land is to be used for residential development after the gravel is removed, enough material should be left behind to allow for the construction of properly designed septic systems.