North Smithfield residents question lack of transparency in well pollution problem

Problems with the water at many of their neighbors’ homes were first discovered in 2004, but they say no one informed them of the issue when they purchased the house.
Water at the Chiccarellis’ house at 250 Mechanic St. has tested just at – but not above – RIDEM’s reporting standards for the chemicals, which means that, at least at the time of the test, it was considered drinkable.
She said that showering is particularly problematic, as the chemicals are known to be breathed in through steam.
Their neighbor, who asked to remain anonymous, said he didn’t do a well test when he bought his two-family home at 246 Mechanic St. in 2009.
In the EPA’s Phase I study, released in March of 2017, five more wells were tested on Old Great Road, and pollutants beyond RIDEM standards were found at one, while a second home had PCE above the “method detection limit.” In Phase II, released last June 14, more wells were tested, and an additional home on Mechanic Street was added to the list, which now includes more than 10 properties in two states.
And their water, tested last July, contains both PCE and TCE.
The Chiccarellis’ neighbor says installing the treatment system helped.
The Chiccarelli family has been told the quality of their water isn’t poor enough to qualify for the system.
“Every time you’re showering it’s what you’re thinking of.
Luckily, we weren’t making bottles for Landon with this water.” When their neighbor brought his test results to North Smithfield officials, he says they immediately reduced his taxes by 25 percent.

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