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Proposed Cleanup Plan for Peterson/Puritan Superfund Site in Cumberland and Lincoln R.I.

Release Date: 07/31/2014
Contact Information: Sarah White, (617) 918-1026

BOSTON – EPA has released a Proposed Cleanup Plan for the Peterson/Puritan, Inc. Superfund site, Operable Unit 2 (OU 2), located in Cumberland and Lincoln, R.I. The main components of Operable Unit 2 include the J. M. Mills Landfill, the Nunes Parcel and an area between these two areas called “Unnamed Island.” The Site is located within the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor.

EPA has also scheduled a public information meeting, and a public hearing. Both will take place in August.

The proposed plan explains the various cleanup options being considered by EPA for the site including EPA’s preferred alternative to address contamination of the soil, sediment, groundwater, and landfill waste. The goal is to implement a remedy that addresses contamination and is protective of human health and the environment. The approximate cost for EPA’s preferred cleanup alternative is estimated to be approximately $40.3 million.

The results of the Remedial Investigation conducted at the OU 2 portion of site between 2001-2012 revealed contamination in the floodplain soils, sediment, and groundwater as well a large volume of waste from the J.M. Mills landfill area that extended in to the floodplain along the Blackstone River. Among contaminants found in the soil, sediment, and groundwater were Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs), non-PAH Semi Volatile Organic Compounds, pesticides, metals, and Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs).

The scope of EPA’s Proposed Plan generally includes the following components:

• Design and construct a hazardous waste cap on both the J. M. Mills Landfill and Nunes Parcel;
• Remove buildings/structures located on the Nunes Parcel (to facilitate cap construction);
• Consolidate associated debris fields and contaminated soils under the constructed cap(s);
• Consolidate (under the constructed cap(s)) contaminated soil from riverbank and floodplain and provide appropriate riverbank restoration;
• Excavate and consolidate under the constructed caps on-site waste and soil exceeding cleanup levels from the Unnamed Island;
• Excavate (to a depth of approximately one foot) sediment exceeding cleanup standards (called “Preliminary Remediation Goals” (PRGs)) from site ponds for consolidation on-site (under the constructed cap(s)), and apply a subaqueous cover where PRG exceedances in deeper sediments may remain; and
• Implement long-term monitoring (e.g., groundwater, surface water, sediment, and performance monitoring for cap effectiveness) where contamination will be left on-site, administer land use restrictions (called “institutional controls”) to prevent use of groundwater on-site and restrict disturbance of components of the cleanup (landfills, the sediment cover, monitoring wells), and conduct statutorily required five-year reviews.

Opportunity to learn more and provide comment on the Proposed Plan:

A Public Informational Meeting will be held on Thursday, August 7, 2014 at 6:30 pm in the Cumberland Public library – Large Meeting room located at 1464 Diamond Hill Road in Cumberland, RI. Representatives from EPA will present the various cleanup options and answer any questions residents may have concerning the Proposed Plan. The meeting is open to all and fully accessible.

A Formal Public Hearing will be held on Thursday, August 21, 2014, at 6:30 pm in the Cumberland Public library – Large Meeting room located at 1464 Diamond Hill Road in Cumberland, RI. During the formal hearing, the public is invited to provide verbal comment on the proposed plan that will be recorded as part of the public record at the site. EPA will not be responding to comment sat the hearing but will provide written response in a Responsiveness Summary which is part of the Record of Decision for the site.

EPA will also hold a 30-day Public Comment period that will run from August 7, 2014 through September 8, 2014. Written comments may be mailed, faxed or emailed to

Dave Newton, RPM
NH/RI Superfund Section
US EPA Region 1
5 Post Office Square/ Mail Code: OSRR07-1
Boston, MA 02019-3912
email: [ newton dot dave at epa dot gov ]
FAX: 617-918-0243

How to obtain a copy of EPA’s Proposed Plan for Operable Unit 2 of the Peterson/Puritan, Inc. Superfund site:

EPA’s Proposed Plan for the Peterson/Puritan, Inc. Superfund Site, OU 2 will be available for review on the EPA web site at: . Copies of the proposed plan will also be made available in the Peterson/Puritan, Inc. Superfund site repository located at both the Town of Lincoln and Town of Cumberland Public Libraries or can be requested by contacting Sarah White at 617-918-1026 or via email: [ white dot sarah at epa dot gov ]

Next Steps:
EPA estimates that a Record of Decision will be signed in the Fall of 2014. Following the Record of Decision and negotiations with parties potentially responsible for the cleanup, work on the remedial design will commence. EPA estimates work to begin on the remedial design in 2016 with construction to follow.

Background Information:
The Peterson/Puritan, Inc. Superfund Site is a former industrial site and landfill area located along the Blackstone River in the towns of Cumberland and Lincoln, Rhode Island. The Site occupies about 500 acres and is approximately two miles long by 1,500 to 2,000 feet wide. The area became a Superfund Site in 1983 after it was discovered that groundwater supply wells along the Blackstone River had been contaminated and had to be taken offline in 1979. The reason the Site was included on the National Priorities List (NPL) was because exposure to contaminated groundwater posed a potential threat to human health and the environment.

Due to the large size of the Site and the number of contaminant sources discovered during early investigations, EPA divided the Site into two areas known as operable units 1 and 2 in 1990. OU-1 includes the northern portion of the Site, encompassing an industrial park in the vicinity of Martin Street in Cumberland and extending south to include the former Quinnville wellfield in Lincoln. Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study activities at OU-1 were completed in 1993, and the selected remedy addressing contaminated groundwater in the vicinity of Martin Street has been in operation since 1997. EPA is now focusing on OU-2, which is located in the southern portion of the Site and includes the inactive J.M. Mills Landfill; the 30-acre Unnamed Island located in the Blackstone River just downstream of the J. M. Mills Landfill; a former waste transfer station (also identified as the Nunes Parcel) north and adjacent to the Stop & Shop Plaza on Mendon Road; the Providence and Worcester Railroad line; and debris fields located on and adjacent to the landfills and along the railroad line. The southern boundary of the site includes the Pratt Dam.

More information on the Peterson/Puritan Superfund Site

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