DEM is considering three wastewater discharge permits for the Woonasquatucket and Carr rivers – ecoRI News


Material Sand & Stone Corp.
The Material Sand & Stone Corp. produces construction sand and gravel, as well as asphalt paving mixes, from North Smithfield. The 105-acre parcel at 618 Greenville Road has been “significantly disturbed due to past and present gravel pit operations,” according to DEM.

A rock crushing operation takes place Monday through Saturday, with stone washing occurring intermittently and weather permitting from April through December. The operation, which uses water from the Woonasquatucket River, results in wastewater discharges.

During average precipitation, rainwater is confined on site by berms, infiltration trenches and retention basins. But site surveys and drainage calculations show that stormwater spills could occur during flooding.

The discharge from the facility enters a series of on-site settling ponds before draining into the wetlands and back into the Woonasquatucket River, which lies to the north and west of the property. According to the permit, the Woonasquatucket River is recognized as a “Class B” water body, suitable for fish and wildlife habitat, recreation and “compatible industrial processes”. However, according to the 2018-2020 Rhode Island Degraded Waters List, the Woonasquatucket River does not support fish and wildlife habitat or primary recreation due to high zinc levels and the presence of enterococci.

Material Sand & Stone submitted an application for RIPDES clearance for these releases on June 8, 2020. DEM expressed concern with the facility’s ability to meet the limits for total iron and TSS, which serve as a measure for particles in the water column.

The installation plans to build new treatment basins to better control discharges. However, according to DEM, these ponds are only expected to lower effluent TSS levels to 41 milligrams per liter, still above the allowable monthly average of 25 milligrams per liter.

In accordance with the permit, total iron and TSS would be monitored quarterly, as well as flow, pH level, zinc, enterococci, nitrate, nitrite nitrogen and perchlorate.

In addition, according to the permit, the discharges must not discolor the Woonasquatucket River, nor add any oil sheen, foam or floating solids. Any discharge of detergents, wastewater from asphalt plants, wash water from concrete trucks and wash water from truck engines and undercarriages into surface water is prohibited.

Inspections would take place annually, with additional regular inspection for sediment build-up, vehicle entrances, seeded topsoil slopes, and the structural integrity of outlets, earth berms and barriers.

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