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Grant Will Help Community Participation in Peterson/Puritan Superfund Site in R.I.

Release Date: 12/17/2010
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

(Boston, Mass. – Dec. 17, 2010) – EPA has awarded the Blackstone River Watershed Council/Friends of the Blackstone (BRWC/FOB) a $50,000 Technical Assistance Grant (TAG) for oversight of cleanup activities at the Peterson/Puritan, Inc. Superfund Site (Site).  This Site encompasses over two miles of mixed industrial and residential property within the Blackstone River valley located in the towns of Cumberland and Lincoln, R.I.

Recognizing the importance of community involvement and the need for citizens living near a Superfund site to be well informed, Technical Assistance Grants provide funds for qualified citizen groups affected by a Superfund site to hire independent technical advisors to help them understand existing information about the site or information developed during the Superfund cleanup process.

“Through the efforts of the BRWC/FOB, EPA now has a mechanism to better engage and empower the local citizens living in the Blackstone Valley,” said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “We look forward to working closely with members of the Council and the local community as work progresses at the site, and we applaud the Council for stepping forward to be the conduit for citizen interaction with EPA and others involved in the Superfund cleanup.”    

Having received the award, the Council plans to use its TAG money to hire a technical advisor and plans to disseminate information at public meetings, newsletters and through its various connections with watershed advocates and partners. The Council is a 501(c)(3) non-profit community based organization which holds monthly meetings the third Wednesday of every month at 6:30 p.m. at the Amica Mutual Insurance Company located at 100 Amica Way, Lincoln, Rhode Island.  In 2008, the Council received the President’s Volunteer Service Award for its engaging capacity to make improvements and restoration happen along this historic urban river.

The Site is situated in the north-central portion of Rhode Island along the Blackstone River and includes a portion of the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor between the Ashton Dam to the north, and the Pratt Dam to the south along the river’s course.  In order to efficiently address the various environmental issues, the Site is broken into sub-areas which are currently defined as Operable Unit (OU) 1 (Primary Source Area) and OU 2 (J. M. Mills Landfill and associated parcels) and a potential OU 3 area (which is currently being addressed through the Rhode Island Brownfields program and other actions).  The Site also includes the 26 acre Quinnville Wellfield (Lincoln, RI) and the Lenox Street municipal well (Cumberland, RI).  These wells were used by the towns of Lincoln and Cumberland as a municipal water supply until 1979 when they were closed by the Rhode Island Department of Health due to the presence of volatile organic contaminants found in the water.  EPA included the Peterson/Puritan, Inc. Site on the Superfund National Priori­ties List on September 8, 1983.  Currently, response actions at the Site are progressing at OU 1 to control and restore groundwater contaminated by past industrial operations at OU 1.  In addition, an investigation into the nature and extent of contamination at OU 2 is expected to be completed in 2011.  Following the completion of this study, cleanup alternatives will be developed and a proposed cleanup plan will be presented to the public.

More information about the Peterson/Puritan Superfund site (http://www.epa.gov/region1/superfund/sites/peterson)

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