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EPA Alerts Residents to Summer Safety Tips on Woonasquatucket River

Annual Do’s and Don’ts Update

Contact Information: 
Emily Bender (

Boston – As summer weather tempts local youth to find a place to swim, the US Environmental Protection Agency reminds the public on ways to use the Woonasquatucket River safely. Residents of North Providence, Johnston, and Providence should keep in mind that contamination in and along the river may pose a health risk.

EPA's New England office advises area residents about how to safely enjoy the Woonasquatucket River:

  • Don't eat fish, turtles, eels, other wildlife or plants from the Woonasquatucket River;
  • Don't wade in the shallow water or swim in the river;
  • Don't dig into the river banks; and
  • Do obey the warning signs posted along the river.

In summer, the Woonasquatucket River is an appealing spot for children. While progress has been made cleaning dioxin contaminated areas, parents, teachers, and camp counselors should make sure children are protected from dioxin and other contaminants remaining in the water, sediment and soil.

The public can safely walk, run or bike along the river, and paddle a canoe or kayak on the river. However, people should wash thoroughly after any contact with the river water, sediment or soil.

In Sept. 2012, EPA selected a cleanup plan, or "Record of Decision," for Centredale Manor Restoration Project Superfund Site that will address contamination in Allendale and Lyman Mill Ponds and floodplain areas. This plan is available at the North Providence and Johnston public libraries. After issuance of the Record of Decision that set out this plan, EPA put in place more cleanup actions along Allendale and Lyman Mill areas to further restrict access to floodplain soils and to protect nearby residents from coming into contact with contamination.

Last year, the site was placed on EPA Administrator Pruitt's Emphasis List of Superfund sites targeted for immediate, intense action. In developing this list, EPA considered sites that can benefit from timely resolution of specific issues to expedite the cleanup. EPA is now in mediation with the responsible parties to reach an agreement that gets the cleanup started as soon as possible.

More information on the Woonasquatucket River and Centredale Manor cleanup (