HISTORY OF MASHAPAUG

Mashapaug Pond is located on the South Side of Providence, bordered by Adelaide Avenue on its northeast edge, the Huntington Business Park on its northwest edge and Ocean State Job Lot off Reservoir Avenue to the south. It is a part of the Pawtuxet River Watershed--the largest watershed in Rhode Island--fed by the waters of Tongue and Spectacle Ponds in Cranston and in turn feeding into the Roger Williams Park ponds. From there, water ultimately ends up in Narragansett Bay.

It was once a thriving Narragansett settlement, part of the land Roger Williams acquired from the Narragansett in 1636. In the early 1800s, its shores became home to an ice harvesting company owned by the Carpenter family, and by 1890 became the heart of American silver manufacturing when Gorham Manufacturing Company started operations on its eastern shore. Now, due to surface water run-off and industrial discharges, Mashapaug Pond is highly polluted. Its waters are not safe for swimming or drinking, its fish are poisoned, and the former Gorham site groundwater and soil, including the pond's cove, are contaminated with toxic metals, solvents and combustion waste products.

The contamination the Gorham factory left behind is not the only source of pollution for the pond, but contaminants in the groundwater under the site continue to flow directly into the pond and add to its pollution burden. Therefore, remediating the groundwater as well as preventing exposure to contaminants in the site's soil are essential to restoring the pond as a public recreation and natural space in the city.

To help remediate and encourage stewardship of this important natural resource, you can:

Sign up for the UPP Mailing List to get periodic updates about meetings and events by emailing genise@urbanpondprocession.org with the subject line "SUBSCRIBE".

Call your city council member at (401) 521-7477 to strongly support storm water controls for Providence (say you want the City to implement DEM's 2007 TMDL recommendations)

Follow developments on www.ejlri.wordpress.com about the Gorham factory site cleanup and other related issues.

Attend public meetings concerning Textron's remediation of the former Gorham site and the EPA-funded clean-up of the Roger Williams Park Ponds.

Reduce the effects of storm water run-off by:

1) Putting waste in its place!

  • Pick up after your pet.
  • Don't feed the ducks and geese.
  • Put waste and litter in trash cans.

2) Remembering that street drains feed our ponds

  • Don't pour motor oils, paints, or cleaning products down the street drains. Check the following website for proper disposal of hazardous waste: http://www.rirrc.org/resident/household-hazardous-waste/
  • Avoid using pesticides and fertilizers on your lawns.
  • Plant trees, gardens and grass which will absorb and filter runoff.

And lastly,

Visit and enjoy the natural beauty of Mashapaug Pond, but please remember to keep yourself safe

  • Don't swim or eat fish caught in the pond.
  • Wash your skin with soap and water after contact with pond water.
  • Avoid contact with pond water during algae blooms, which are toxic and can increase after a rainfall.
  • Wipe your feet after leaving the pond to prevent tracking contaminated sediments into your car or home.

View to Mashapaug Pond through the trees

Mashapaug Pond

 

 

Water drains from Mashapaug Pond

 

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PO Box 27296, Providence, RI 02907