NORTH SMITHFIELD — U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) geologists are in town this week to conduct new surveying, drilling and soil testing of the Stamina Mill Superfund site in Forestdale and determine whether volatile organic compounds still exist in soil above the water table.
The government geologists will be focusing their efforts on an area that has undergone soil vapor extraction and treatment for the past several years.
Town Administrator Paulette D. Hamilton said Tuesday that the surveying activities will determine the meets and bounds of the Stamina Mills property on School Street in order to assist in establishing institutional controls for the property.The testing will not affect business or residential functions, she said.
"Most of the testing will be done this week, weather permitting” Hamilton said. "Once again, I want to stress the importance of not using wells in the Forestdale area, for any reason. That includes filling pools, washing cars, watering gardens and other events. No one should be using any wells in that district because contaminants may be drawn back into the village.”
The Superfund site is still under the jurisdiction of the federal government; town officials continue to meet periodically with the EPA to determine what issues still need to be addressed. There has been a town ordinance prohibiting the use of wells in the Stamina Mills area since 2006.
Although the groundwater within much of the area covered by the ordinance has been remediated, the concentrations of contaminants found onsite warrant continuing the ordinance as pumping in the district could cause recontamination of these areas.
The ordinance states, in part, that: "The public health and safety requires the cessation of well construction and well pumping activity within an area here defined as the Stamina Mill Remediation District. The scope of this district has been delineated by the EPA as that area, due to groundwater patterns and proximity to the Stamina Mill Superfund site on School Street in Forestdale, North Smithfield, whose well pumping activities have the potential capacity to draw contaminants from the groundwater affected by the site."