PROVIDENCE – The state Department of Environmental Management has reached an agreement with seven defendants that calls for them to initially pay $750,000 to the state as compensation for “damages to groundwater and other natural resources at the Davis Superfund site in Smithfield,” said DEM Director Janet Coit in statement on Friday.
Additional payments may be necessary if the contaminated groundwater at the site is not brought up to state standards for drinking water, the DEM added.
“The consent decree filed today is another step in our efforts to hold parties responsible for their acts. DEM looks forward to using these monies and working with our partners to strengthen protective measures that safeguard Rhode Island’s finite groundwater and drinking water aquifers,” added Coit.
The money will be paid by the following seven companies: Ashland Inc.; the Black and Decker Corp.; FKI Industries Inc. f/k/a Acco-Bristol Division of Babcock Industries Inc.; Bristol Inc.; Morton International LLC; Rohm and Haas Co.; and Life Technologies Corp. The DEM said that the payment would be put into its Emergency Response Fund for investigation and enforcement of future natural resource damage claims.
The site sits on 10 acres in Smithfield. According to the DEM, the property accepted toxic liquid waste transported in drums and bulk tank trunks, which were then dumped into unlined lagoons and seepage pits and subsequently excavated, moved and covered with dirt. In addition, salvaged vehicles and machine parts were collected there, and tires were shredded. The site was added to the Superfund list in 1983.
The cleaning of the site has involved the treatment of almost 30,000 yards of contaminated soil, as well as removal of buried hazardous waste drums and more than 6 million discarded tires. Contaminated groundwater is currently undergoing treatment, and the DEM said that it is working with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to make progress on that work.