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Lead Excavation a Success at Smithfield, R.I. Site

Release Date: 12/05/2008
Contact Information: Jeanethe Falvey, (617) 918-1020

(Boston, Mass, - Dec.5, 2008) – EPA’s work to remove lead contaminated soil at the Providence Barrel Site in Smithfield, R.I. is winding down. As expected, all activity has concluded for the season, both on schedule and under anticipated costs. EPA has been working closely with the Rhode Island Dept. of Environmental Management (RI DEM), local officials and residents throughout the cleanup process.

Excavation of contaminated soils began in May, 2008. In the past two weeks all on site personnel and equipment were demobilized and all seed restoration for this season was completed. EPA will be back in the spring to complete vegetation restoration and repair any damage that has occurred over the winter.

The former Providence Barrel facility, located in a residential neighborhood on Oak Street in the village of Esmond in Smithfield, operated as a barrel reclamation facility from 1972 until 1980. The two-acre site had been inactive in recent years, but federal and state investigations indicated the presence of soil and potentially groundwater contamination.

The cleanup work was prompted by a site investigation conducted by RI DEM, EPA and its Superfund Technical Assessment and Response Team (START) contractor in Oct. 2005. Based on these findings and subsequent investigations, in July, 2007, EPA recommended a removal action for this site.

Further investigation conducted during the cleanup found elevated levels of lead related to site activities on 17 adjacent private properties. The excavation of soil contamination on these parcels was completed by October 8, 2008. Properties that were cleared of contamination were backfilled with clean soil, re-seeded and landscaped to ensure a return to original, but clean, conditions.

Almost 7,000 tons of lead-contaminated soil was removed from the entire site, and all buildings that had existed on the property were removed. The contaminated soils were transported to a treatment facility and then re-used as daily-cover soil at a landfill in New Hampshire.

More information:
EPA cleanup and removal work (

Contact Information:
(Media) Jeanethe Falvey, U.S. EPA, (617) 918-1020
(Technical) Ted Bazenas, U.S. EPA, (617) 918-1230
(Technical) Ann Battersby, RI DEM, (401) 222-2797 x7284