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EPA Begins Spring Work at Centredale Manor Restoration Project in Rhode Island

Release Date: 05/01/2003
Contact Information: Alice Kaufman, EPA Community Affairs Office, 617-918-1064

Boston - Work begins next week on additional phases of field work at the Centredale Manor Restoration Project in North Providence, R.I.

Following an environmental survey conducted last October by boat of the Allendale and Lyman Mill ponds, EPA's investigation team is returning to collect and analyze sediment core samples in these ponds to identify the dates the various layers were deposited. This investigation is part of EPA's effort to characterize the impact of contamination to the Woonasquatucket River and to determine a final cleanup approach for the site.

"We continue to use solid science on this important project," said Robert W. Varney, EPA's regional administrator. "This is another step in responding to the needs of the community in Johnston and North Providence."

EPA plans to take focused sediment core samples to determine the age and chemical composition of sediment layers in Allendale and Lyman Mill ponds and to compare these to the history of contaminant releases from the superfund site. This analysis will consist of radioisotope dating using lead-210 and cesium-137 isotopes to determine sediment accumulation rates, followed by analysis for dioxin.

Last fall, the EPA Environmental Response Team Center mapped bottom sediment thickness in Allendale and Lyman Mill ponds using a boat-mounted ground penetrating radar (GPR). The depositional history of the river channel and man-made ponds configuration were studied. The survey identified detailed features such as historic flow and scour channels, basin-like pools, small pockets of soft sediments, and layering distribution. A breach of the Allendale Dam in 1991 and its subsequent restoration in 2002 may have influenced the sediment distribution.. In that pond, the area most likely to contain the most sediments from the past 50 years may be restricted to a delta shape that fans out from the northwestern part of Allendale Pond down towards the dam.

EPA reminds the public in North Providence and Johnston to follow the "Do's & Don't's for the Woonasquatucket River" and to use the river responsibly. This includes:

    1. not eating fish, turtles, eels or plants from the Woonasquatucket River;
    2. not wading in the shallow water or swimming in the river;
    3. avoiding coming into contact with exposed sediments in the river; and,
    4. obeying the warning signs posted along the river.

The Centredale Manor Restoration Project is located on Smith Street in North Providence and includes the Woonasquatucket River and the floodplain between Route 44 downstream to and including Lymansville Dam.