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RI Department of Environmental Management
235 Promenade St., Providence, RI 02908
(401) 222-2771 TDD/(401) 222-4462
DEM AWARDED $75,000 FROM EPA TO FUND RESTORATION PLAN FOR MASHAPAUG POND
PROVIDENCE - The Department of Environmental Management (DEM) has received a $75,000 grant from the US Environmental Protection Agency to produce a restoration plan for Mashapaug Pond in the southwest corner of Providence. The 77-acre pond is situated in a mixed industrial and residential neighborhood and is currently classified as "impaired" because it does not meet water quality standards.
Alicia Good, Chief of DEM's Office of Water Resources, said, "Mashapaug Pond has been important to the people of Providence for 150 years. It will be rewarding to develop plans for restoring its water quality so that it can continue to serve city residents in new ways for many decades to come." The plan will also serve as a restoration model for impaired ponds in other New England urban communities.
Mashapaug Pond historically provided water power for saw mills, cooling for the former Gorham Manufacturing Company, and ice distributed by horse and buggy in Providence's southside. At that time, prior to the automotive age, the Pond's central location was an asset. The Pond is, however, also a central collection point for pollutants deposited on parking lots and roads which get transported in runoff from storms.
Both the City of Providence and Keep Providence Beautiful support the restoration as a key component of a larger initiative to revitalize the neighborhood. The City has built a boat ramp on the pond with funds from DEM, where residents can rent canoes and kayaks. The facility is operated for the city by Paddle Providence, Inc. and features environmental programs run by the Retired Senior Volunteer Program. The city also plans to construct a walking/biking trail around the pond.
"The proposed DEM water quality study will enable all of the Mashapaug Pond stakeholders to develop a sound and cost effective restoration plan for the pond," according to Robert McMahon, Deputy Superintendent of Parks in Providence.
The restoration plan will be conducted in three phases. First, the current water quality conditions in the pond and its tributaries will be analyzed. Second, major sources of pollutants contributing to water quality problems will be identified. Finally, actions will be recommend to abate the pollution sources. Tetra Tech of Pasadena, CA has been selected as a consultant on the project and will work under DEM. The project is expected to begin in early 2001 and to be completed by mid-2002.