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Clean Up Work to Begin at Contaminated Site in Warren, R.I.

Release Date: 08/14/2008
Contact Information: Paula Ballentine, (617) 918-1010

(Boston, Mass. – Aug. 14, 2008) – Next week EPA will begin work on a clean up project at the Birch Swamp Road Site in Warren, Rhode Island, to remove surface soils containing hazardous substances such as lead and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).

Investigations in the summer of 2007 and spring of 2008 documented that contamination at the site, which is believed to have been operated as an automotive and military surplus junkyard, requires removal. The work is expected to begin next week and take approximately three months to complete.

EPA is working closely with the R.I. Dept. of Environmental Management (RIDEM) and the Town of Warren on this project. First steps include completing a survey of the site to look for any buried debris that may be causing the soil contamination, securing the area with fencing and putting up warning signs around the property. To ensure public safety, Warren citizens should pay attention to warning signs near work areas.

As part of the clean up, EPA will take steps during the next several weeks to stabilize the Site, including installing fencing and warning signs to restrict access to the property; conducting air monitoring, erosion control, and dust suppression; collecting and analyzing soil samples; surveying the site to determine if any buried contaminated equipment is present that is contributing to the soil contamination; excavating contaminated surface soils and remove contaminated equipment; backfilling all excavated areas with clean fill materials; transporting off-site and properly disposing of contaminated materials at EPA-approved facilities; and repairing response-related damage to areas disturbed by site activities (for example, by backfilling excavation areas with clean soils and plantings).

The one-acre site is located off of an unpaved access road that intersects Birch Swamp Road to the west. The majority of the site consists of a grassy field on which the junkyard activities are believed to have taken place. The site also extends onto a small portion of an adjacent wooded property.

Safety measures developed with the Town Manager’s Office, Warren Fire and Police Departments and RIDEM will include the access restrictions and warning signs, and traffic control measures, including limitations on trucks transporting equipment and materials to and from the site to avoid morning and evening commuter traffic. There will be designated equipment and vehicle cleaning areas, and all cleanup workers will be wearing personal protective gear, including white plastic coveralls, gloves, and boots. This level of protection is mandated by federal laws.

More information:
EPA’s short term clean up actions (

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