Part of the Lower Pawtuxet River Watershed in Providence, RI
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.
Local resident Ana Quezada, who lives next to Mashapaug Pond, speaks about why it's important for us to care about and address stormwater pollution.
Max Green from the Conservation Law Foundation describes how stormwater runoff pollutes Mashapaug Pond.
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 firstname.lastname@example.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.org 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!
2) Remembering that street drains feed our ponds
Visit and enjoy the natural beauty of Mashapaug Pond, but please remember to keep yourself safe