Although sand quarrying started in Tampines as early as 1912, the quarry boom began in the 1960s when the construction of public housing estates and other urban redevelopment resulted in a high demand for sand. At its peak, there were more than 20 sand quarries in Tampines and the industry attracted traditional farmers and fishermen of the area to become quarry workers and drivers.
However, these sand quarries caused substantial environmental damage, with silt and mud runoff polluting nearby rivers and streams, causing landslides and floods that destroyed farmland. Dust clouds also became a constant feature of the Tampines skyline during the 1960s as a result of quarrying operations.
In 1981, the Singapore government started regulating the quarries to prevent further harm to the environment, and instituted strict pollution controls which ended cheap but damaging methods of extraction. A number of smaller quarries closed as a result of these regulations and, by 1991, all remaining quarries had ceased operations.
Some of these closed quarries were converted into fishing ponds by entrepreneurs and became popular recreational spaces while others were reclaimed during the development of Tampines Town. One former quarry was converted into Bedok Reservoir while another quarry also along Tampines Avenue 10 remains disused.