RI DEM To Hold October 2 Public Meeting in Warwick to Discuss Water Quality Restoration of Buckeye Brook

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RI DEM To Hold October 2 Public Meeting in Warwick to Discuss Water Quality Restoration of Buckeye BrookPROVIDENCE – The Department of Environmental Management will hold a public meeting in Warwick on October 2 to discuss water quality findings and recommendations to restore pathogen related impairments to Buckeye Brook and its tributaries.

Staff from DEM’s Office of Water Resources will discuss the findings and recommended strategies contained in the draft Pathogen Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for Buckeye Brook watershed at the public meeting. The water quality restoration study addresses pathogen related impairments to Buckeye Brook, Lockwood Brook, Warner Brook, Parsonage (Knowles) Brook, Old Mill Creek, and the tributaries to Warwick Pond located north of Airport Road. These impairments affect both recreational uses of the streams and shellfish harvesting in Old Mill Creek estuary. TMDLs are mandated by the federal Clean Water Act and establish the maximum pollutant load that a water body can assimilate and still meet water quality standards.

DEM utilized data collected by volunteers working with the URI Watershed Watch program and data collected by DEM staff from 2004 through 2006 to characterize water quality conditions of the Buckeye Brook watershed. The study reports that nearly all segments of the Buckeye Brook watershed fail to meet water quality standards for fecal coliform and for enterococci. Elevated pathogen concentrations were found in all sections of the watershed, with the highest concentrations originating in Knowles and Lockwood Brooks. Sources of pathogens include stormwater runoff, waterfowl, failed or inadequately maintained septic systems, pets and farm animals.

At the meeting, DEM staff will also discuss the current field investigation being conducted on Buckeye Brook to assess biodiversity impairments. This study includes dry and wet weather water quality sampling and biodiversity assessments for selected stations on Buckeye Brook and its tributaries, including several samples sites in and around T.F. Green Airport and Truk-Away Landfill located southeast of the airport.

The October 2 meeting will be held on 7:00 P.M. in Room 100 at Warwick Public Library, located at 600 Sandy Lane. Interested parties may submit written comments to DEM on the TMDL until 4 p.m. on November 3.

The TMDL document is available online on DEM’s website, www.dem.ri.gov, by clicking on Office of Water Resources under Offices and Divisions on the homepage, then Water Quality, then Restoration Studies.

For more information or to request a copy of the TMDL, contact Skip Viator in DEM’s Office of Water Resources at 222-4700 ext. 7608 or via email at skip [dot] viator [at] dem [dot] ri [dot] gov.