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Socio-environmental succession of Providence greenspace: consequences of an industrial legacy on modern-day water infrastructure


Water is critical for the development of industry; it is used at all levels of industrial production as a solvent, coolant, transport agent, and raw material. Abundant flowing water throughout New England powered rapid growth of factories during the Industrial Revolution. Tanneries, dyeworks, textile mills, and other industries discharged untreated wastewaters containing organic solvents, caustics, acids, and heavy metals. Though no longer active, these historic industrial sites continue to pose hazards when redevelopment disturbs persistent contaminants. Modifications to natural water ways and development of artificial water infrastructure has altered how contaminants enter and move through a now-complex water system. This study will determine the relative concentration, distribution, and proximity to water of brownfield and Superfund sites located within the Mossashuck and Woonasquatucket River watersheds, which converge to form the Providence River. Brownfield sites present potential human health hazards when redeveloped, expanded, or reused due to the presence or potential presence of hazardous contamination. Superfund sites have been identified as requiring a long-term response to mitigate or contain known hazardous contaminants.1 \n Additionally, this study maps the sewage systems of relevant municipalities to investigate how artificial water infrastructure may be responsible for mobilizing contaminants from historic sites in unintended ways. In the context of present-day natural and artificial water infrastructure, these historic sites may pose a threat to both immediate and geographically removed communities. Our goals include: 1) Develop a database of historic industrial sites located within the geographic boundaries of the Mossashuck and Woonasquatucket River watersheds that are known to pose contamination hazards; 2) Geo-locate sites in reference to major rivers, streams, and other water bodies using GIS software; 3) Identify and map sewage systems, including combined sewer overflows (CSOs)


Acosta, Kailani, Cole, Cassandra, Montieth, Lauren, et al., "Socio-environmental succession of Providence greenspace: consequences of an industrial legacy on modern-day water infrastructure " (2015). I-Team UTRAs: Interdisciplinary Team Undergraduate Teaching and Research Awards, Summer Research Symposium. Brown Digital Repository. Brown University Library.



  • I-Team UTRAs: Interdisciplinary Team Undergraduate Teaching and Research Awards

    In 2014, the Office of the Dean of the College started a new faculty-initiated Interdisciplinary Team UTRA (I-Team UTRA) that supports group projects of one or more faculty and two to six students. Students in selected teams will receive a …

  • Summer Research Symposium

    Each year, Brown University showcases the research of its undergraduates at the Summer Research Symposium. More than half of the student-researchers are UTRA recipients, while others receive funding from a variety of Brown-administered and national programs and fellowships and go …