McNamara announces sediment sampling plan for Pawtuxet River; new website to keep residents informed

 

STATE HOUSE — Rep. Joseph M. McNamara (D-Dist. 19, Warwick, Cranston) has announced that BASF, an international chemical company, has submitted a sediment sampling workplan to the Environmental Protection Agency to determine if sediment along the Pawtuxet River in the Warwick/Cranston area contains volatile organic compounds or PCBs. A website to keep the public informed of ongoing remediation efforts has also been launched.

The company owns land in Cranston on the banks of the river that housed the Ciba-Geigy Chemical Company from 1954 to 1986, and is now the subject of an EPA corrective action plan under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.

“This is a big win for the residents and businesses in the vicinity of that stretch of the river,” said Representative McNamara, whose district includes the land in question. “As flooding of the river becomes more frequent, those who live downstream of the affected areas are dealing with sediment that contains unknown pollutants. They have a right to know what this sediment contains. And this is really a hallmark for the community.”

During last month’s flooding of the Pawtuxet River, adjacent neighborhoods in both Warwick and Cranston were flooded. When the river receded, varying depths of sediment emitting noxious odors were left on neighborhood properties. A similar incident occurred in 2010, prompting the Rhode Island Department of Health to recommended wearing N95 masks when removing or shoveling the substance. At the time, Representative McNamara purchased two cases of the masks to hand out to residents in the affected neighborhoods.

In addition to the sediment sampling workplan, BASF launched a website to inform neighbors and businesses downstream from the Superfund site. The page includes the sediment plan and plans for remediation. The website can be found at https://www.basf.com/us/en/pages/cranston-ri-community-site.html.  At Representative McNamara’s request, Cranston Mayor Kenneth Hopkins and Warwick Mayor Frank Picozzi have both posted links to the page on their respective city websites.

“This was a great collaborative effort by everyone involved, including Mayor Hopkins and Mayor Picozzi,” said Representative McNamara. “We could not have done it without the help of everyone, including Sen. Joshua Miller (D-Dist. 28, Cranston, Providence), Sen. Matthew L. LaMountain (D-Dist. 31, Warwick, Cranston), and Rep. Arthur Handy (D-Dist. 18, Cranston). I would also like to thank Cranston City Council Vice President Lammis Vargas, and Warwick City Councilmen Bill Foley and Jeremy Rix, along with the environmental groups Clean Water Action and Pawtuxet Green Revival. This has been an inspiring reminder of what can be accomplished when everyone works together.”                                     

 

 

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