I’m on the road today, taking a break at the Liberty Elm. Not much time, but I’ve been on the intertubes late at night when I’m too tired to write, and there’s a little item from the back pages of the ProJo that caught my eye, back on July 27.
This is in my visiting nurse territory. The two elderly high-rise buildings on the end of Smith Street (you will have trouble finding because it’s off the Centredale roundabout) are built on contaminated land. Although I have not seen any three-winged geese or giant mushrooms in the little green patch alongside the parking lots, I do think it’s a shame that un-named persons left behind something as nasty as dioxin. Look up Agent Orange to learn more about how dioxin persists in the soil and water, and what it does to people.
The agency’s investigation found the highest levels of contaminants at a location along the river, just off Smith Street, where two apartment complexes are now in operation. Those complexes are Centredale Manor and Brook Village.
The site was a hub of activity for a former chemical company and a drum recycler, which polluted the area with dioxins during a period from the early 1940s to the early 1970s.
Soil at the main site contained levels of dioxins, PCBs, pesticides, metals and other pollutants that were in excess of environmental standards, according to the EPA.
Most of the contamination was in soils just below paved or capped areas; soils at deeper depths contained less pollution, according to the EPA.
Go to ProJo.com to read
and weep about the cost of the cleanup, and the pollution levels downstream from the little marsh behind the buildings. I have no idea how long that stuff persists if not remediated, but I have seen buildings come and go. A site for elderly housing today could be needed for families with children tomorrow. It would be a bright future if the grandkids could step on the grass.
This was just a little spot on the back pages of a slow news day. Citizen Pete in the comments asks why the Providence Journal doesn’t publish the names of the businesses that dumped all this stuff in the water. Good question.
And, oh yeah, I remember why I posted on this topic. Republican candidates are attacking the Environmental Protection Agency. Well, North Providence has this little remembrance from the good old days before regulation to clean up and pay for. Think of how much money we could have saved with prevention, and how careful the dumpers would have been if they had to pay for the mess.