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RI Department of Environmental Management
235 Promenade St., Providence, RI 02908
(401) 222-2771 TDD/(401) 222-4462
DEM TO HOLD PUBLIC MEETING TO DISCUSS PLANS FOR RESTORING WATER QUALITY IN TWO WATER BODIES OFF PORTSMOUTH
PROVIDENCE - The Department of Environmental Management (DEM) will hold a public meeting on December 12 in Portsmouth to discuss strategies for maintaining and improving water quality in Blue Bill Cove and portions of the Sakonnet River. The meeting will be held from 7 to 9 PM in the Council Chambers of the Portsmouth Town Hall.
The meeting will focus on the two waterbodies and their watersheds, which include the neighborhoods of Portsmouth Park and Island Park. Since 1987 these areas have been closed to shellfishing due to failing septic systems and other pollution sources in the area.
DEM and the Town of Portsmouth are currently developing plans to address the sources of pollution, particularly bacteria contamination, in the two areas. DEM is reviewing water quality data and assessing known pollution sources with the goal of developing a water quality restoration plan. This plan will recommend actions that should result in the eventual re-opening of the two areas closed to shellfishing. Once reopened, the goal is to maintain these areas for shellfish harvesting as well as swimming, boating, and habitat for fish and wildlife. For its part, the Town of Portsmouth is conducting a feasibility study to correct the wastewater and stormwater pollution in the Portsmouth Park and Island Park neighborhoods.
At the meeting, DEM will introduce the watershed restoration process and discuss the information collected to date. DEM will also be seeking information from individuals familiar with the area to help identify additional sources of pollution and measures that can be taken to reduce those sources.