PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — After the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency developed a plan to clean up the heavily polluted Woonasquatucket River, which flows from North Smithfield to Providence, community stakeholders in the Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council raised questions about whether it would be adequate. They engaged experts from the Brown University Superfund Research Program to investigate the EPA’s plan to excavate some areas of contamination and to then cover over sediment in the river’s oxbow in North Providence.
On Thursday, Feb. 5, 2015, at 2:30 p.m., researcher Marcella Thompson will present to invited public officials the results of an analysis that lends scientific credence to the council’s questions about the EPA’s Record of Decision (RoD). Using detailed geographic information systems, document reviews, direct observations, computer simulation, and other techniques, the researchers found:
- EPA’s analysis of surface water flows in the oxbow may be inadequate.
- The oxbow of the river may be more prone to flooding than the EPA’s plan acknowledges.
- There is more human activity — and therefore potential exposure to toxicants — in the oxbow than EPA is accounting for.
- There has been too little environmental sampling of contamination in the area.
“We found enough evidence to support WRWC concerns,” Thompson said. “We and the WRWC have met with USEPA and RIDEM ahead of this public meeting.”
Marcella Remer Thompson, co-Leader of community engagement for the Brown University Superfund Research Program and assistant professor of nursing at University of Rhode Island
Presentation to Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council and local public officials of new research results that support the council’s questions about the EPA’s proposed remediation of pollution in the river’s oxbow.
R.I. Commerce at American Locomotive
315 Iron Horse Way Suite 101
2:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 5, 2015, until 3:30 p.m.