SOUTH KINGSTOWN, RI – The Rose Hill Landfill and West Kingston Town Dump are among the three Superfund locations in Rhode Island that the EPA said recently completed five year cleanup.
This was the third such five-year review for both sites, according to the EPA.
The Superfund program, a federal program launched by Congress in 1980, examines and cleans up the most complex, uncontrolled, or abandoned hazardous waste landfills in the country and helps bring them back to productive use.
There are a total of 13 Superfund locations in Rhode Island. The third site to recently underwent a five-year review was Stamina Mills, Inc. of North Smithfield.
State officials welcomed the completion of the EPA's review work.
“DEM is pleased that these reviews have confirmed that the funds continue to protect human health and the environment,” said Janet Coit, director of environmental management, Rhode Island. “We're also pleased that two of the locations, Rose Hill Landfill and West Kingston Dump / URI Disposal Area, continue to support Rhode Island's clean energy goals with over 28 acres of solar panels to power South Kingstown community and school buildings . ”
Coit also commended South Kingstown for participating in a statewide waste management plan and using part of the Rose Hill property for staging catastrophic storm-related waste.
“All of these measures promote climate resilience at previously contaminated and underutilized Superfund sites – and that is all positive,” said Coit.
Two decades after the Rose Hill Landfill was designated a Superfund site, a four-year redevelopment of the area worth $ 14.5 million was completed in 2012.
The US Environmental Protection Agency added the 70-acre municipal landfill to its national superfund priority list in 1989 following the discovery of industrial waste contamination in groundwater and surface water. The rehabilitated 45-acre section was used as a municipal landfill and industrial waste dump from 1967 to 1983.
The cleanup was paid for under a settlement agreement signed in 1999. The federal and state governments split the cost, with South Kingstown and Narragansett reimbursing the state 30 percent of the cost. The cities also each paid $ 2 million to the federal government to offset past and future liability and consulting costs.
The 18 acre West Kingston Town Dump / University of Rhode Island disposal area is on Plains Road. The six-acre landfill received unregulated solid waste from the 1930s to 1967 when the Rhode Island Department of Health discovered during a site inspection that the waste being disposed of at the site was from industrial, residential, commercial and institutional sources.
From 1945 to 1987, solid waste was also picked up in the 12-acre URI disposal area, which in the past was referred to as the URI Gravel Bank or Sherman Farm. Plant operations have contaminated the soil and groundwater with dangerous chemicals.
After the city landfill was closed in 1978, the URI disposal area began collecting most of the URI waste, including small amounts of empty paint cans, oil bins, and pesticide bins. Laboratory equipment, machinery, closed barrels and old tanks buried on site were discovered by the DEM during an inspection in 1987.
In 1987, URI removed 159 tons of material and transported it to waste disposal facilities. Closure work began in 2003. Construction of the landfill caps was completed in spring 2006.
“One of the EPA's top priorities is to continue to make progress in cleaning up Superfund locations in the New England area,” said Dennis Deziel, EPA New England Regional Administrator. “Once a site or part of a site is cleaned, the EPA carries out regular reviews of the cleanup to ensure that it is protecting human health and the environment.”
There are many stages in the Superfund cleanup process, including considering future use and remediation at sites and monitoring the locations after the cleanup. The EPA needs to ensure that the drug protects public health and the environment, and any new development will continue to protect the drug in the future.