Environmental Protection Agency
Skip common site navigation and headers
United States Environmental Protection Agency
Waste Site Cleanup & Reuse in New England
  Serving Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont & 9 Tribal Nations
Begin Hierarchical Links EPA Home > EPA New England > Cleanup > Find NE Sites > CENTRAL LANDFILL End Hierarchical Links


Table of Contents:
 Advanced Search
 Site Type: Long Term/National Priorities List (NPL) Click to see more about Site Type and how it is used?


Map this site in Cleanups in My Community
 Johnston,  Rhode Island
 Providence County
 Street Address: 65 Shun Pike
 Zip Code: 02919

 EPA ID #: RID980520183
 Site ID #: 0101277
 Site Aliases: Rhode Island Central Landfill,, Silvestri Bros. Landfill,, Johnston Site

 Site Responsibility: Federal, Potentially Responsible Parties

 Proposed Date 10/15/1984
 Final Date 06/10/1986

Site Description
[Back to Top]

This active landfill is currently owned and operated by the Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation - RIRRC (formerly the Rhode Island Solid Waste Management Corporation) and receives approximately 85 percent of Rhode Island's solid waste. The landfill is currently comprised of five areas. One of these areas, a 121-acre area (sometimes called the Phase 1 area), was used prior to 1980 for the disposal of municipal and hazardous waste. The other four areas (Phases 2, 3, 4 and 5) have been used to dispose of municipal solid waste. Landfilling in the Phase 2 and 3 areas stopped in July 2003. There are also plans for additional expansions beyond the Phase 5 area.

Located within the 121-acre, Phase 1 area is an approximately 1/2 acre area where a minimum of 1.5 million gallons of documented hazardous wastes were disposed of between 1976 and 1979. Within this 1/2 acre hazardous waste area, bulk liquid waste was dumped into trenches that had previously been excavated into bedrock. The wastes disposed of in this area included latex waste, acid waste, corrosive waste, water soluble oils and waste solvents, including methylene chloride, toluene, 1,1,1-trichlorethane and tetrachloroethylene (PCE). EPA believes that, prior to 1976, a large quantity of non manifested liquid hazardous waste was also disposed of in this 1/2 acre area. In 1982, the owner complied with a State order to close the areas that had received hazardous material. These areas have been excavated, backfilled, and capped to minimize further contamination of the groundwater and surface water, and revegetated as part of the closure plan. Approximately 4,000 people live within 3 miles of the site. The bedrock aquifer underlying the site has been contaminated.

Threats and Contaminants
[Back to Top]

On-site groundwater is contaminated with volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as benzene, chlorobenzene, toluene, vinyl chloride, methyl ethyl ketone, bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate and 1,2-dichlorobenzene, and heavy metals including arsenic, beryllium, cadmium, lead, manganese, and vanadium. Adjacent surface waters, sediments, and wetlands have also been affected by low levels of contamination. The EPA has determined that the public is not at immediate risk from contaminants emanating from the site. Potentially affected residents and businesses are supplied with drinking water from a public water supply system that ensures human health is fully protected.

Cleanup Approach
[Back to Top]

The site is being addressed in three stages: initial actions and two long-term remedial phases focusing on the cleanup of on-site and off-site contamination.

Response Action Status
[Back to Top]

Initial Action The current owner installed a landfill gas collection and combustion system in the 121-acre, Phase I area which is used to generate electricity, as well as public water supply lines in the area surrounding the Central Landfill. The current owner also purchased all residential land within 1,000 feet of the landfill, and offered to purchase all residential property up to 2,000 feet surrounding the landfill. Most residential owners within the 1,000 to 2,000 foot zone agreed to sell their property.

On-Site Contamination In 1987, the owner/operator began an investigation into the nature and extent of site contamination. The study identified the sources of contamination and, in June 1994, an OU1 Record of Decision (ROD) was signed which selected a cleanup plan to control the identified sources of contamination. The cleanup plan included capping the 121-acre, Phase 1 area; extracting and treating groundwater in the most highly contaminated 1/2 acre area within the 121-acre, Phase I area; establishing institutional controls; and conducting a detailed evaluation of the existing landfill gas collection and combustion system. The cleanup plan was completed in September 2006. EPA Region 1 signed a Preliminary Close-Out Report in September 2006.

Off-Site Contamination In 1994, the owner/operator began an investigation to evaluate groundwater contamination beyond the 612-acre Central Landfill facility boundary including within nearby surface waters, soil, and sediments beyond the 154 acre Phase 1, 2 and 3 areas. A second Record of Decision (ROD) was signed in September 2002. The September 2002 ROD called for no further remedial action beyond that already required by the 1994 ROD.

Enforcement HighlightsIn 1987, the owner of the landfill entered into a Consent Order with the EPA to conduct a study of site contamination. The on-site cleanup plan required by the 1994 ROD and discussed above is being performed by the current owner (RIRRC) under a October 1996 Consent Decree.
A September 2005 Explanation of Significant Difference (ESD) to the June 2004 OU1 ROD removed the requirement to treat the extracted hot spot groundwater using an on-site Ultraviolet/Chemical Oxidation system. The extracted groundwater is now being conveyed to an on-site leachate pre-treatment system instead. See Current Site Status below for additional information. The September 2005 ESD also revised the OU1 performance standard for arsenic in groundwater from 50 ppb down to 10 ppb to reflect the national change to the MCL for arsenic.

Environmental Progress
[Back to Top]

The installation of the landfill gas collection and combustion system and public water supply lines, and the purchase of residential property around the landfill have reduced the threat to public health. The Department of Justice (DOJ) entered a Consent Decree with the RI District Court on October 2, 1996.

Current Site Status
[Back to Top]

Construction of the RCRA C cap started with the placement of controlled fill in July 1997 and the approximately 89-acre cap construction project was completed in November 2005; bringing the total OU1 cap area to 121-acres (which includes the 32-acres of pre-existing RIDEM approved cap). A pre-final inspection was performed for the entire capped area in November 2005.

    Construction of the hot spot hydraulic containment system started with the installation of a groundwater extraction well in July 2003 and construction of the final conveyance pipeline to the existing Central Landfill leachate pre-treatment system (see paragraph below) was completed in September 2006. A pre-final inspection for the hot spot hydraulic containment system was performed on September 21, 2006.
      As part of its expansion efforts (now spanning five phases), RIRRC constructed a leachate pretreatment system that collects and treats leachate from these expansion phases of the landfill. The leachate pretreatment system consists of chemical precipitation to remove metals before being discharged to the Cranston Waste Water Treatment Plant. Groundwater is currently being extracted from the hot spot area of the landfill and discharged directly to this leachate pretreatment system.
        Deed restrictions and a long-term groundwater, surface water and air monitoring program are in place. As part of the OU1 remedy, the RIRRC filed a Declaration of Covenants and Environmental Protection/Conservation Easements on property it owns at the 612-acre Facility. This Covenant prohibits the use of groundwater except for remediation purposes, prohibits the installation of groundwater wells or the use of existing groundwater wells and prohibits the alteration of the groundwater flow in any way. Further, the Town of Johnston adopted a Town Ordinance that, among other things, prohibits the use of groundwater wells and prohibits the Town's building inspector from issuing permits for the construction of groundwater wells in any location where access to Town public water is available and where the well or proposed well is located in certain described areas.
          The evaluation of the existing landfill gas collection and combustion system was completed in 2005. The evaluation concluded that the gas collection and combustion system is in compliance with state and federal regulations and the air risk assessment performed as part of this evaluation concluded that the air emissions for the combustion facility presented no risks to human health. Access to the site is controlled by a combination of fencing and on-site security.

          The second Five-Year Review (FYR) was issued in September 2008. This FYR found that concentrations of lead in Upper Simmons Reservoir sediment during the last three years exceeded the consensus based Threshold Effects Concentration and Probable Effects Concentration sediment quality guidelines for lead and therefore present a long-term ecological risk. The FYR also found that the detection limits for metals in surface water need to be lowered to verify that metals at the Site are not presenting a long-term ecological risk. The FYR concluded that: the remedy is protective of human health; the remedy is protective of the environment in the short-term; and the remedy may not be protective of the environment in the long-term since the sediment lead levels in the Upper Simmons Reservoir are currently presenting a long-term ecological risk. The FYR report is available at both site repositories listed below and via this website.

          To date the detection limits for metals in surface water have been modified and a study is underway to assess lead concentrations in Site sediment and surface water compared to concentrations found in the Upper Simmons Reservoir.

          Site Photos
          [Back to Top]

          Links to Other Site Information
          [Back to Top]
          Disclaimer Instructions about PDF

          Newsletters & Press Releases:
          Press Releases about this project  
          Proposed Plan, August 2001  
          Community Update: Construction Activities Complete, December 2006 (325 MB)  

          Federal Register Notices:
          Final NPL Listing  

          Administrative Records:
          Administrative Record Index, OU01 Record of Decision (ROD), June 17, 1994  
          Remedial Administrative Record File for OU02 as of August 2001 (827KB with links to other documents)  
          Administrative Record Index, OU01 Explanation of Significant Differences (ESD), September 30, 2005 (128KB)  
          Administrative Record Index, OU02 Offsite Investigations, August 01, 2001 (345 KB)   
          Administrative Record Index, OU02 Offsite Investigations, September 26, 2002 (278 KB)   
          Administrative Record Index, OU 1 Explanation of Significant Differences (ESD), September 2013 (575 KB)  

          Reports and Studies:
          Five-Year Review Report, September 26, 2003 (2,592KB)  
          Second Five-Year Review Report, September 26, 2008 (29.5 MB)   
          Third Five-Year Review Report, September 25, 2013 (16.2 MB)  

          Decision Documents:
          View Records of Decision (RODS) on-line (EPA HQ)  
          Record of Decision (ROD), Operable Unit 2, September 26, 2002  
          Explanation of Significant Differences (ESD), Operable Unit 1, September 30, 2005  
          Explanation of Significant Differences (ESD), Operable Unit 1, September 25, 2013 (3.95 MB)  
          Institutional Controls for this Site  

          Other Links:
          NPL Site Narrative at Listing:  
          Site Progress Profile  

          Site Repositories
          [Back to Top]

          Marion J. Mohr Memorial Library, 1 Memorial Drive, Johnston, RI 02919

          OSRR Records and Information Center, 1st Floor, 5 Post Office Square, Suite 100 (HSC), Boston, MA 02109-3912 (617) 918-1440

          [Back to Top

          EPA Remedial Project Manager: Claire Willscher
          Address: US Environmental Protection Agency
          5 Post Office Square, Suite 100
          Mail Code OSRR07-1
          Boston, MA 02109-3912
          Phone #: 617-918-1794
          E-Mail Address: willscher.claire@epa.gov

          EPA Community Involvement Coordinator: Stacy Greendlinger
          Address: US Environmental Protection Agency
          5 Post Office Square, Suite 100
          Mail Code ORA20-1
          Boston, MA 02109-3912
          Phone #: 617-918-1403
          E-Mail Address: greendlinger.stacy@epa.gov

          State Agency Contact: Gary Jablonski
          Address: Department Of Environmental Management
          235 Promenade Street
          Providence, RI 02908
          Phone #: 401-222-2797
          E-Mail Address: gary.jablonski@dem.ri.gov

          EPA Site Attorney Kevin Pechulis
          Address: US Environmental Protection Agency
          5 Post Office Square, Suite 100
          Mail Code OES04-2
          Boston, MA 02109-3912
          Phone #: 617-918-1612
          E-Mail Address: pechulis.kevin@epa.gov


          Serving Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, & 9 Tribal Nations
          Begin Site Footer

          EPA Home | Privacy and Security Notice | Contact Us

          Last updated on Monday, September 30th, 2013
          URL: http://www.epa.gov/region1/superfund/sites/central