Chemicals and Metals in The Bay
Chemicals and metals have been dumped into Narragansett Bay since the Industrial Revolution began on the Blackstone River.
Sediments in the Bay and its rivers, especially in the Providence and Fall River areas, are laced with pollution from decades of direct industrial discharges. Great progress has been made by the Narragansett Bay Commission and other wastewater treatment plants in reducing the amount of toxins being dumped into the Bay. Even today, however, wastewater treatment plants discharge everyday products such as pharmaceuticals, mercury, lead, zinc, copper, and other “heavy metals” into the Bay.
Adding to the mix, stormwater picks up gasoline, grease, and oil from paved surfaces and dumps them into the Bay. Chemicals from wastewater and stormwater wind up in Bay sediments and in the food chain, especially bottom fish and shellfish.