By ecoRI News staff
PROVIDENCE — Save The Bay doesn’t like what it is seeing from waterfront scrap recycler Rhode Island Recycled Metals. The environmental group recently toured the Allens Avenue salvage yard with the state Department of Environmental Management (DEM) and the Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC) and fired off a letter to state officials suggesting improper oversight of pollution from the facility.
In the Feb. 21 letter to DEM Director Janet Coit and CRMC Director Grover Fugate, Save The Bay Director Jonathan Stone said his group remains “very troubled” by the size of this scrap metal operation and the runoff flowing directly into the Providence River. This letter isn't the first time Save The Bay has gone on record with concerns regarding the company's practices.
Stone recently wrote that the recycler shouldn’t have been allowed in 2010 to expand its scrap operations after it was given the go ahead to dismantle a Russian submarine used as a museum. “What had been a limited and temporary salvage operation has since been transformed into a year-round, large-scale, ship-breaking operation, with obvious environmental risks,” Stone wrote.
Stone also noted a lack of public input on the expansion and the need for public comment, if Rhode Island Recycled Metals wishes to continue operations after current assent expires June 23.
The DEM shouldn’t have permitted the scrap yard due to the increased risk of polluting the bay from untreated runoff, which is visible during rainy weather, according to Stone. This runoff “is flowing off of the site and into storm drains that drain to the bay,” he wrote in the letter. This problem is heightened by the fact that the recycler sits atop a capped brownfield possibly containing PCBs.
The company failed to get permission from DEM and CRMC to expand operations. “Instead it’s seeking forgiveness after the fact,” Stone wrote.
A call to Edward Sciaba, general manager of Rhode Island Recycled Metals, was not immediately returned.
In addition to dismantling and shipping scrap metals, Rhode Island Recycled Metals also accepts junk vehicles and wholesale and retail drop-off other metals such as copper piping and rebar.