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News Release

RI Department of Environmental Management
235 Promenade St., Providence, RI 02908
(401) 222-2771 TDD/(401) 222-4462

For Release:

May 23, 2000

Media Contact:

Gail Mastrati 222-4700 ext. 2402
Stephanie Powell 222-4700 ext. 4418


Parents Urged to Keep Children Away from Site

PROVIDENCE - The Department of Environmental Management and the Providence Plan will hold a public meeting on Thursday, May 25, for residents who live near the Riverside Mills "Brownfields" property on Aleppo Street in Providence. Staff from DEM will explain to residents the upcoming removal of underground storage tanks from the property, short-term precautionary measures and the long-term benefits associated with the clean-up. DEM urges parents to keep children away from the cleanup site while work is ongoing. Neighborhood children have been known to play on the six-acre property, despite warning signs.

The meeting will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Curtis Arms Apartments on Bosworth Street, next to the Olneyville Health Center. A staff person from the Providence Plan will interpret the meeting into Spanish.

DEM has contracted with Clean Harbors, its emergency response contractor, to clean and remove two abandoned underground storage tanks, clean and close a concrete vault, and remove petroleum-contaminated soil and piping that may be found in the underground tank area. The tanks and the vault are believed to contain No. 6 oil, a thick oil used for industrial heating. Clean Harbors will also be on hand at the meeting to answer questions. The work may take several weeks, and, if contaminated soil is found, it will be temporarily exposed at the site during the cleanup. The tank removal itself involves digging pits 5 to 10 feet deep, which will be filled in once the tanks are out of the ground and contaminated soil and piping have been removed. Clean Harbors will erect orange snow fencing around the pits during the cleanup operation.

Thirty-eight hundred flyers created by the Woonasquatucket River Greenway Project in English and Spanish have been mailed and handed out to neighborhood residents announcing the meeting and urging their attendance. The flyers cite the temporary safety concerns associated with the cleanup, including extra truck traffic on Manton Avenue, Aleppo Street and Pelham Street.

The Riverside Mills site is part of a planned 4.4-mile linear park along the Woonasquatucket River from Waterplace Park in downtown Providence west to the Johnston line. Sizeable foundations and a small two-story brick office building remain from a mill complex that was destroyed by fire in 1989. The site eventually will be turned into a stopping point for bikeway users, with a path, benches, signage, a small parking area, and scenic overlooks along the river and dam that capitalize on the river's history. The City of Providence has received a $450,000 greenways grant from state open space funds toward the total project cost of $2.4 million.

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