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Effort to Remove Hazardous Materials Underway at Smithfield, R.I. Site

Release Date: 05/05/2008
Contact Information: Effort to Remove Hazardous Materials Underway at Smithfield, R.I. Site

(Boston, Mass. – May 5, 2008) – EPA is coordinating efforts with the Rhode Island Dept. of Environmental Management (RI DEM) and local officials during the removal of potentially hazardous materials at the Providence Barrel Site in Smithfield, RI.

The former Providence Barrel facility, located in a residential neighborhood on Oak Street in the village of Esmond in Smithfield and across from the Woonasquatucket River, operated as a barrel reclamation facility from 1972 until 1980. The two-acre Site is currently inactive, with soil and potential groundwater contamination. The chemical composition and volume of material spilled or dumped on the property is not known and all buildings that existed on the property have been removed.

The work was prompted by a site investigation conducted by RI DEM, EPA and its Superfund Technical Assessment and Response Team (START) contractor on October 4, 2005. Soil samples collected during the preliminary inspection process revealed the presence of elevated levels of lead, arsenic, semivolatile organic compounds (SVOCs), perchloroethelene (PCE) and trichloroethylene (TCE) in the soil. Based on these findings, EPA recommended a removal action for this site.

In Dec. 2007, EPA took soil gas and subsurface soil samples from 10 properties adjacent to the site to evaluate the potential for soil vapor intrusion into residential properties and to test the extent of subsurface contamination beyond the site boundaries. Both TCE and PCE were found at elevated levels in samples collected from beyond the site, indicating that there is the potential for soil gas impacting indoor air of neighboring residences.

The contaminated surface soils are devoid of vegetation and exposed to the elements. These conditions make the contaminated soils accessible and potentially subject to migration through wind or runoff. The site is positioned uphill from the surrounding residential properties, increasing the potential of migration into a populated area.

The removal action will further identify any potential contamination of soil and groundwater. Crews will remove hazardous materials to appropriate disposal at licensed facilities. Also, an earthen cap may be constructed over the contaminated soils that cannot otherwise be excavated. Clean fill material will be placed over the excavated areas.

Additionally, RIDEM will work closely with EPA on addressing potential vapor intrusion of contaminants to the indoor air of the abutting properties and, if necessary, install systems to control site related vapor intrusion into residential buildings

During this work, all appropriate measures will be taken to protect public health and safety. EPA and RI DEM are working closely with Town of Smithfield officials and residents of the nearby residential neighborhood to provide information about the assessment and removal work at the property.

More information: EPA "short term" removal actions