Habitat Restoration Plan Drafted for Centredale Manor Superfund Site

By ecoRI News staff

The restoration projects aim to restore native wildflowers to benefit bees and butterflies. (Courtesy photo)

The restoration projects aim to restore native wildflowers to benefit bees and butterflies. (Courtesy photo)

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) has proposed to use about $90,000 of the Centredale Manor Superfund Site’s damage settlement to fund habitat improvements along the Woonasquatucket River adjacent to the Manton Dam fish ladder in Johnson, R.I.

The projects are outlined in a recently released draft restoration plan, with public comment accepted through July 26.

Last summer the U.S. Department of Justice, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management announced that two subsidiaries of Stanley Black & Decker Inc. — Emhart Industries Inc. and Black & Decker Inc. — have agreed to clean up dioxin contaminated sediment and soil at the Centredale Superfund Site in North Providence and Johnston.

The settlement, which includes remediation work in the Woonasquatucket River and on bordering residential and commercial properties, has been estimated to cost about $100 million.

The intent of the habitat improvements is to restore, replace, or acquire natural resources and natural-resource services that were harmed by the release of hazardous substances from the Centredale Superfund site.

“The restoration projects proposed in the draft plan would improve habitat for fish and wildlife along the Woonasquatucket River, restore native wildflowers to benefit bees and butterflies, and provide an outdoor classroom area where children and adults can reconnect with the natural world,” said Tom Chapman, supervisor of the New England FWS field office.

The 9-acre Centredale Superfund Site is located along the Woonasquatucket River. The operation of various industrial facilities dating back to 1921 contaminated the river and adjacent wetlands with dioxins, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), DDT, and mercury. The river, wetlands, and sediments were contaminated, which in turn impacted the fish and wildlife that rely upon these habitats.

In 2005, the FWS entered into a settlement with two of the responsible parties, recovering $130,000 in damages as compensation for environmental degradation. The FWS consulted with local environmental groups and state and federal agencies to identify and develop restoration project plans.

A final plan will be issued after public comments are considered.