Woonsocket is beginning the long process of cleaning up its underutilized and possibly contaminated waterfront.
For years, the site of the Dorado Mill Complex was one of the many along the Blackstone River producing textiles. Residents could tell which dyes the mill was using each day by the color of the river.
Today the site sits abandoned, unable to sell even at a tax sale. Woonsocket officials hope redevelop the site, but first needs to know whether it is contaminated, and if it is how to clean it up.
Now Woonsocket has received a $300,000 grant from the EPA to do just that along a 180-acre stretch of waterfront land.
“And the town will go out to and they will assess the property to see what kind of contamination there is there,” said Deb Szaro, acting administrator for the EPA’s New England region. “Once we identify what is there, we can then help the community develop a cleanup plan and eventually get private development in to redevelop the site.”
The city’s ultimate goal is to revitalize the waterfront, once the cleanup is complete. The funds are expected to pay for seven environmental assessments testing for chemicals and pollutants, along with the preparation of two cleanup plans for Woonsocket.