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Island Park Landfill Cap at 1/4 Done; DEM Finds No Soil Issues

Work on the old landfill in Island Park has reportedly reached the one-quarter completion mark, and recent tests of soil deliveries have shown no unacceptable levels of contaminants.

This month, work on has reportedly reached the one-quarter completion mark, and recent tests of soil deliveries have shown no unacceptable levels of contaminants, according to sources at the state Department of Environmental Management (DEM) and a spokesperson for the contractor.

The area along Park Ave between Boyd's Lane and Mason Avenue has been fairly busy over the last month, with dump trucks bringing in soil several days a week as part of the ongoing effort to cap what was once a town dump, determined by DEM to have dangerous levels of contaminants.

The owner of the property, AP Enterprise, is working with Massachusetts remediation firm Site Restoration Technologies to execute the plan in the DEM-approved "Beneficial Use Determination (BUD). According to DEM's Mark Dennen, who has been monitoring the process and conducting site inspections, the soil coming in on the trucks has met appropriate standards.

"The vast majority of the soil brought to the site in the past month is from the Morton School Project in Fall River," Dennen said in an e-mail exchange. "This soil was tested by a third party for the full suite of contaminants; TPH, VOCs, SVOCs, PCBs and metals." (View results here.) Some additional soil came from a bridge project in Pawtucket, Dennen said, and he provided a link to those testing results as well.

Dennen also sent the most recent site report from a visit last month (see PDF), as well as the results of an independent sample he took (see PDF) during the visit, which also showed acceptable levels of both arsenic and lead. The report shows that the arsenic level was 2.6 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg) which is less than half the residential limit of 7mg/kg, and lead came in at 15mg/kg, which is one-tenth the residential standard.

David Peter, a principal at Site Restoration Technologies, provided details on the project status in a phone interview. "It's about 25% done," said Peter, explaining that between 40 and 50 thousand tons of soil had already been brought in to the site.

Peter said that they were "hoping to have it done this year," but that a variety of factors were slowing things down — notably, the impact of the recession on the construction industry (which would generate fill) and the inability to use the Sakonnet River Bridge. "We would probably be done by now if the Sakonnet River Bridge was done."

Peter said they had prioritized work to cap the southeast corner of the site, near the intersection of Park Avenue and Mason — which is a school bus stop. "We are using our heads," he said. "That's the area of greatest potential impact." The plan, he said, was to get that section graded, capped with the required two feet of residential-grade fill, and planted with grass seed in time for summer. "When people go to the beach, we don't want it to look like a construction site."

Full disclosure: Our family lives two streets from the landfill.

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John McDaid April 09, 2012 at 12:37 AM
Joe, I'm asking again politely. Did you read the BUD and the Q&A page on the DEM site? Are you alleging that the proposed approach does not solve the problem? If so, please offer evidence to refute, rather than paranoid rants. Thanks.
Joe Sousa. April 09, 2012 at 09:38 AM
I'm not paranoid. I have worked on enough construction sites where DEM was involved to know the Facts. I worked on the McAllister Point Landfill, and the Middle Town Land Fill closure . I saw a different method used on these sites . They didn't stack hundreds of truck loads of poison fill on top of them. They cleaned and covered them. I would suggest you do more research.
John McDaid April 09, 2012 at 10:34 AM
Joe, you assert that the soil contains "poison" but offer no facts. The burden of proof is on you to do the research. Your personal anecdotes do not constitute evidence.
ralph April 09, 2012 at 02:52 PM
I wonder what the comparitable cost is between removing all dump material, and covering it over with dirt? I am sure the soil being used is within compliance. What I would like to see is the test results of deeper soil testing? Decades of non compliant dumping I'm sure has left the underlying soil fully filled with all kinds of carcinogened goodies. I think we would be talking Super Fund site cost figures. Speculatively speaking of course.
John McDaid April 09, 2012 at 03:41 PM
Ralph, the Beneficial Use Determination (BUD) contains the full test results, and you're right in thinking the underlying soil is contaminated. You can find the full BUD here: http://www.dem.ri.gov/programs/benviron/waste/pdf/portsbud.pdf and a quick list of the contaminants here: http://www.dem.ri.gov/programs/benviron/waste/pdf/ottiano2.pdf

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