Lead, arsenic found in soil surrounding Pascoag plaza

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BURRILLVILLE – A recent investigation of the surface soil in the area surrounding a commercial plaza in Pascoag has found semi-volatile compounds, arsenic and lead above statewide regulatory standards.

Property owner Valliere Realty Associates, LLC notified abutters of the plaza at 40-82 North Main St. of the findings April 1, noting that testing was performed in accordance with the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management.

“The goal of the investigation was to determine the extent to which historical mill activities at the property may have resulted in any exceedances of RIDEM’s promulgated soil criteria and groundwater objectives,” noted Valliere.

The shopping plaza, known as Herald Square, holds office and retail space, with current tenants including a bank and a laundromat. The plaza was built in 1984 and Valliere purchased the 6.89 acre lot in 1996 for $152,000, according to town property records.

The contaminant MBTE was found in public drinking water in the area in 2001, leading to the closure of a well run by the Pascoag Utility District. Pollutants in the water were determined to have come from a gasoline release from the North Main Street Mobil at 24 North Main St., a business which later went bankrupt.

Since then, more than 12.5 million gallons of groundwater have been pumped and treated through activated carbon filters according to RIDEM, and it is estimated that more than 3,100 equivalent gallons of gasoline have been removed from the water.

RIDEM also required a remediation plan for soil in the area and resulting in the recent site investigation. That plan, as outlined by Valliere, includes limiting access to a portion of the property with fencing, encapsulating contaminated soils with the current pavement and building, and limited encapsulation of grass in the southwest corner of the property. According to the notice, the plaza will remain as commercial use and with the land west of the Pascoag River to remain undeveloped.

“RIDEM has determined that the investigation has adequately assessed the nature and extent of the contamination at the property and has addressed all concerns in accordance with the remediation regulations,” the notice, which was also provided to the Town Council, states.

Arrangements to review RIDEM records on the property may be made by calling Angela Spadoni, in the office of customer and technical assistance at (401) 222-4700 ext. 77307.

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