Arsenic Fact of the Day: cap irrelevant in hurricane

Today's arsenic fact is the DEM's discussion of the nightmare hurricane/flooding scenarios advanced by opponents of the project. Here's what the DEM said in the Beneficial Use Determination (BUD), available on the DEM web site.

There have been comments of concern that by creating this large mound of soil, it will lead to catastrophic consequences for the neighborhood in the event of a hurricane. Furthermore, the claim is that the slope will worsen a hurricane impact by its physical presence. The Department's disaster debris coordinator was also part of the review team for this application. We have also discussed the issue with the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency. The drainage plans for the proposed work have undergone extensive review and received approvals from CRMC, the Town of Portsmouth, as well as DEM. Storm event and drainage calculations are required a part of these reviews. As it is within the 100 year coastal flood plain, the tidal surge of a category 3 hurricane could be devastating for the residents of the area. Even if the landfill did not exist, the catastrophic wind and flooding from such an event could result in the release of a large volume of other hazardous materials to the area; oil (from heating oil tanks), gasoline (from cars, mowers, boats and gas cans) and household chemicals (pesticides, herbicides, paints, and cleaners). Based on the technical review, a 3-5% slope on the landfill will not make a discernable difference to the flooding pattern associated with such an event. Furthermore, having a cap on the landfill, as compared to its current condition, would lessen the effects of a hurricane spreading contamination that already exists at the site.

Editorial note: I strongly encourage anyone who lives in Island Park to read the entire BUD and get the facts.