Waste Site Cleanup & Reuse in New England
Cumberland and Lincoln, Rhode Island
new bike path along river
When the 980 acre Peterson/Puritan Superfund Site was identified as a major source of contamination of the water supply for Cumberland and Lincoln, Rhode Island, as well as the Blackstone River, several businesses employing hundreds of people occupied part of the site. If the businesses were shut down for the cleanup, it would have severely hurt the local economy. Fortunately, EPA and the responsible parties accomplished the cleanup around and under existing commercial, light industrial, and recreational facilities, while allowing for continued operation. Once the balance of the site, which includes an inactive landfill, is cleaned up, it may be come part of a 17 mile riverside park. The industrial portion of the site now contains manufacturing and warehouse facilities housing six businesses, an industrial condominium complex, the town dog pound, and the town's little league ball park. Approximately 800 people work at the site, generating income and public revenues that are important to the local communities. The ball park is in constant use during the season. EPA has approved potential expansion of activities at the site as long as cleanup operations are not disrupted. When contamination at the landfill is addressed and a greenway and bike path are completed, that part of the site will be integrated into a heavily used regional recreation area. The cleanup is a contributing factor to the rehabilitation of the Blackstone River, and the preservation of a designated National Heritage Corridor. A portion of the 17-mile bikeway along this corridor (completed in 2000) is located on the site, and other portions of the bikeway run parallel to the site. It is anticipated that 250,000 people annually will use the bikeway, once it is completed.
The cooperation among EPA, Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management and the potentially responsible parties (PRPs) has been instrumental in the successful cleanup, the continued use of the commercial portion of the site, and the cleanup and rebirth of the other site areas.