The Centredale Manor Superfund site is located at 2072 and 2074 Smith Street in North Providence, Rhode Island. The area was polluted with dioxin and other toxins from chemical production that took place there from the 1940s to the 1970s. Chemicals went directly into the ground and the river. Soil, groundwater, surface water and sediment became toxic in the adjacent and downstream river and ponds. Over time, the toxins spread downstream into the river and banks.
The EPA investigated the site from 1999 until 2012 and identified Potential Responsible Parties (PRPs). During this time the EPA and the PRPs took emergency action. These included capping the site where the chemicals were first dumped “Source Area” and replacing the dam at Allendale Pond. In September 2012, the EPA laid out a plan for cleaning the site in a document called the “Record of Decision” (ROD).
Remediation will start at the Source Area and extend downstream about 1.5 miles (see EPA graphic). This section of the Woonasquatucket River includes two ponds (Allendale and Lyman Mill Ponds) and a 30 acre forested wetland called “the Oxbow.”
The WRWC runs a Technical Advisory Group (TAG) to provide input to the EPA on the project and keep the community updated on progress. The TAG has commented on many aspects of the cleanup and supports the general ideas in the ROD.
Cleanup will include:
In July 2018, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), the EPA and the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM) reached a settlement with Emhart Industries Inc. and Black & Decker, Inc. (two of the PRPs) whereby these companies agreed to implement the EPA’s Record of Decision. EPA estimated the cost to do this work to be approximately $100 million.
In the coming months, several Preliminary Design Investigations will be conducted to characterize the contamination at the Source Area and along the river. The results of these investigations will provide data that will allow for engineers and scientists to develop detailed plans and specifications for the remediation. This work will be largely performed by contractors working for Emhart/Black & Decker under oversight by EPA and RIDEM.
WRWC has received a Technical Assistance Grant (TAG) from the EPA to allow us to engage the services of an environmental consultant to help us better understand this work, actively participate in public comment opportunities and to disseminate this information to the local communities.
The WRWC anticipates attending the upcoming public meetings, reviewing the Preliminary Design Investigation Work Plans, the results of these investigations and eventually the Remediation Design Plans. We anticipate that it will take several years to complete this project and we are eager to work with EPA, RIDEM, Emhart/Black & Decker and the community to complete the remediation and ultimately see the River restored to a fishable/swimmable condition.