rhode island department of environmental management

Battle With The Sea
7:47 am
Thu December 18, 2014

Battle With The Sea: Protecting Wastewater Treatment Plants

Historic rains flooded the Pawtuxet River in 2010, overtopping the earthen levee built to protect the Warwick Sewer Authority.
Photo Courtesy of Janine Burke

Here’s an effect of climate change you might not have thought of: heavy rains flood wastewater treatment plants. These intense rain storms are one result of warming temperatures. As part of our ongoing series, Battle With The Sea, Rhode Island Public Radio’s environmental reporter Ambar Espinoza has a report from a wastewater treatment plant in Warwick.

The Warwick Sewer Authority is located on the banks of the Pawtuxet River, next to what is called an oxbow, the U-shape curve in a river. The river wants to fill in the land next to the oxbow each time it floods. 

Read more
8:38 am
Thu November 27, 2014

Winter Farmers' Markets Abound With Local Products

Summer may be gone, but locally grown food still abounds with eight winter farmers’ markets open throughout the state. A year-round local food system continues to grow in the Ocean State, as more and more farmers use greenhouses and other tools to extend the growing seasons.

Farmers’ markets these days sell an array of local offerings, not just produce, said Ken Ayars, the Department of Environmental Management’s agriculture chief.

Read more
Battle With The Sea
5:50 am
Tue November 18, 2014

Battle With The Sea: Change Is Here (Part 1)

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) visited each other’s states to find common ground on climate change, an issue that polarizes their parties.
Ambar Espinoza RIPR

Rapidly rising sea levels and severe weather threaten every community and natural habitat in the Ocean State, not just along the coast. Through a new ongoing series we’re calling, Battle With The Sea, Rhode Island Public Radio will examine the range and scope of these threats from city to city and town to town, and the solutions to prepare and strengthen Rhode Island for future threats to come.

Read more
7:50 am
Wed November 12, 2014

Residents Suing Westerly Quarry Request New Investigation

Neighbors of Armetta, LLC, a quarry formerly known as Copar Quarries, say this aerial photo taken from a private plane depicts a plume of stone dust coming from the quarry shortly after a blast.
Photo Courtesy of Steve Dubois

Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency reported Copar Quarries in Westerly has paid $80,000 in penalties for violating federal clean air standards. According to EPA officials, the quarry is now in compliance. Not so, say neighbors who live near the quarry. Their lawyer is calling for a new investigation into dust and other concerns associated with the operation.

Read more
3:04 pm
Mon November 3, 2014

Where To Recycle Light Bulbs With Mercury

Credit Kevin Rector / Creative Commons via Wikipedia

Wondering what to do with burnt-out light bulbs that contain mercury? Thirteen hardware stores across the state are now collection sites for recycling compact fluorescent light bulbs and linear bulbs up to 4 feet long. Mercury is a neurotoxin. It can affect memory, cognitive thinking, and fine motor skills. The most common exposure to mercury is through eating contaminated fish.


Read more
12:25 pm
Wed October 22, 2014

The Highest Point For State Land Acquisition

Jerimoth Hill is known for being one of the most difficult high points to climb in the nation, not because of its elevation, but because an abutting neighbor closed off its access point.
Ambar Espinoza RIPR

Jerimoth Hill, Rhode Island’s highest point at 812 feet, is officially open to the public. Brown University owned this parcel of land in Foster and handed over the land deed to the state at a ceremony this morning.

State and Brown University officials huddled with their rain jackets and umbrellas near the entrance of Jerimoth Hill along route 101 in Foster. After they watched Gov. Lincoln Chafee raise the Rhode Island flag on a flagpole, they made their way to the highest point on the property, which isn’t that much higher than the road at the entrance. 

Read more
6:00 pm
Wed October 8, 2014

Shellfish Closure Extended For An Area In Upper Narragansett Bay

Ambar Espinoza RIPR

The Department of Environmental Management has extended an existing shellfish closure in an area of Upper Narragansett Bay known as Conditional Area A and the Conimicut Triangle.

Read more
4:00 pm
Wed August 20, 2014

New Technique To Restore Eroding Shorelines In Place At Narrow River

The Nature Conservancy’s John Torgan said coastal restoration managers expect the coconut fiber coir logs to stem the erosion of these banks, so that the marsh will grow and become more stable and resilient in the face of storms and rising sea levels.
Ambar Espinoza RIPR

Rhode Island has lost more than half of its salt marsh habitats to erosion and other climate change impacts. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse will tour the Narrow River tomorrow to learn about a new technique to restore eroding shorelines.  

Read more
4:01 am
Mon July 14, 2014

RI Tagging Trees Across The State Threatened By Invasive Insects

A male asian longhorned beetle.

Hundreds of bright orange and yellow tags will be going up on trees across the state starting Monday to heighten awareness of invasive insects that devastate forests.

The biggest concerns are the Asian Longhorned Beetle and Emerald Ash Borer. That’s because those species have been found in Massachusetts and Connecticut.

Read more
3:39 pm
Thu June 5, 2014

Rhode Island In Good Shape To Meet EPA's Carbon Emission Plan

Rhode Island is in good shape to meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed plan to reduce emissions from power plants, according to scientists with the Department of Environmental Management.

The EPA’s proposed plan is to cut emissions by 25 percent by 2020 and an additional 5 percent by 2030. It’s using emissions from 2005 as a baseline. The DEM’s supervising air quality specialist Frank Stevenson said the plan takes into consideration existing regional initiatives to cut carbon pollution. And that’s good news.

Read more