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News Releases from Region 01

Rhode Island DEM to Receive $129,000 EPA Pollution Prevention Grant

Contact Information: 
David Deegan (deegan.dave@epa.gov)

BOSTON - The R.I. Dept. of Environmental Management (RI DEM) has been selected to receive $129,000 over two years as one of five Pollution Prevention grants being awarded by EPA's New England Regional Office for the FY2016-FY2017 Pollution Prevention Grants cycle.

Pollution Prevention grants fund programs or projects that measurably reduce the environmental footprints of local and regional businesses through projects that significantly reduce or eliminate pollution from air, water and/or land prior to relying on recycling or waste clean-up. In total EPA is awarding approximately $689,000 for Pollution Prevention grants in New England over the next two years.

Under this project RI DEM will begin a new initiative that targets facilities with aboveground storage tanks containing hazardous materials or petroleum products in flood-prone coastal communities of Rhode Island for assistance on pollution prevention and risk preparedness. RIDEM will undertake a multi-office and agency effort to reduce the potential for hazardous material releases during storm surges or hurricanes

"EPA is very pleased to support our partner RI DEM by funding this effective and well-designed project," said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA's New England office. "Our Pollution Prevention Grants reduce pollution at its source, which is the best way to create a cleaner environment and sustainable economy."

"Safeguarding Narragansett Bay and the state's waters are among DEM's top priorities, and this important federal funding will enable us to expand our pollution prevention efforts in sensitive and flood-prone coastal areas," said Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management Director Janet Coit. "Petroleum products and other hazardous materials stored in aboveground tanks can harm the environment, especially if they're released during storm surges and weather events. By identifying and mapping the tanks in sensitive coastal areas, we can better protect our precious waters and support our state's fisheries, marine trades, and tourism industries. We extend thanks to our federal partners at EPA for their continued support."

RIDEM will identify and map tanks in flood and storm surge areas utilizing Rhode Island's STORMTOOLS Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping layer. It will design a project-specific survey, mail it to priority facilities, and analyze the resulting data. RIDEM will develop best management practices that companies can use to "harden" their sites or otherwise reduce the risk that hazardous materials will be released during a flood. To encourage companies to prevent pollution, RIDEM will prepare an instructional workbook and offer on-site technical assistance. The project will also develop a draft Environmental Results Program (ERP) model for aboveground storage tanks for future implementation. The RI ERP model is an innovative regulatory approach, first implemented in Massachusetts, that includes checklists to measure industry conditions, agency inspections/evaluations to determine baseline industry conditions, self-certification and self-auditing by individual facilities, intervention via education and self-certification, and post-intervention statistically-based inspections to measure performance.

Project partners include: Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council, Rhode Island Executive Climate Change Coordinating Council (RI EC4), Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management Office of Emergency Response, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, State Fusion Center, Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency and the Climate Adaptation & Resilience Information Sharing (CARIS) Working Group.

More information about EPA's Pollution Prevention Grant Program (www.epa.gov/p2/grant-programs-pollution-prevention)