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Pawtucket Awarded Grant to Improve Water Quality in the Pawtucket-Central Falls Train Station District

Pawtucket was recently awarded a $575,000 grant from the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM) for stormwater pollution abatement.

The grant will support the design and construction of stormwater improvements within the Pawtucket-Central Falls Train Station District (Station District).

This grant will assist the City in preparing the Train Station District for construction, development and investment on the parcels surrounding the station. The cities of Pawtucket and Central Falls have already been jointly planning for the development of the station district which encompasses over 50 acres of available development, with a grand total of 160 acres, 2 million square feet of unique, historic mill buildings, and the potential to more than double that square footage with new construction.

Andrew Silvia, Chief of Project Development for the City’s Public Works Department (DPW), noted that the project will use innovative, nature-based solutions to help clean up dirty stormwater runoff and reduce flooding in the District, adding that “many observers won’t recognize that these features have anything to do with improving water quality—they’ll just notice that their neighborhood looks a lot greener and healthier.”   

Construction will include the use of green infrastructure techniques such as grassed swales, bioretention areas, pavement removal and infiltration to allow natural processes to remove pollutants before they reach waterways. These strategies allow rainwater, melting snow, and other run-off to avoid pavement and infiltrate the earth instead preventing automotive fluids, animal waste, de-icing sand and other incidental pollutants from entering the Blackstone River. A stormwater master plan will also be developed for the District as part of the project.

The grant will further the City’s continued investment in water quality improvement efforts, including DPW’s Free Tree and Free Rain Barrel Programs, and a vegetated waterfowl buffer recently installed in Slater Park.

The grant was part of RIDEM’s announcement of $6.8 million in matching grants for 33 projects, spread across the state, to mitigate water pollution from stormwater and nonpoint sources, reduce flooding, and strengthen Rhode Island’s climate resilience. 

 

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