East Prov­i­dence of­fi­cials hope to make Sabin Point Park ‘swimmable’ some­day

Woonsocket Call - - Blackstone Valley - By JOSEPH FITZGER­ALD jfitzger­ald@woonsock­et­call.com

EAST PROV­I­DENCE — The city of East Prov­i­dence is putting the fin­ish­ing touches on a stormwa­ter man­age­ment plan for Sabin Point Park, which will in­clude con­struc­tion of a large sand fil­ter to im­prove wa­ter qual­ity and al­low the park to be­come a swimmable beach again some­day.

Be­cause of im­prove­ments to area treat­ment plants over the years, Up­per Narragansett Bay is be­com­ing cleaner. In fact, city of­fi­cials say the wa­ter has be­come clean enough where Sabin Point Park could be­come a swimmable beach with some ad­di­tional wa­ter qual­ity treat­ment at the park it­self.

The 4.6-acre city park, lo­cated at the end of Shore Road, juts out into the bay and is known for its wa­ter­front views. The park has a play­ground, bas­ket­ball courts, a pav­il­ion, a fish­ing pier and walk­ing paths.

But swim­ming hasn’t been al­lowed in the park for decades due to wa­ter qual­ity im­pair­ments.

Right now, drainage pipes within the park do not drain prop­erly and the wa­ter be­comes stag­nant. In addi- tion, heavy rains dis­charge the stag­nant wa­ter into the bay and in the area of the ex­ist­ing beach, lead­ing to el­e­vated bac­te­ria lev­els.

As part of the stormwa­ter man­age­ment plan drafted by ESS Group – an engi­neer­ing and con­sult­ing group hired by the city with a $47,000 Bay and Wa­ter­shed Restora­tion Fund grant – the city will use its own money and la­bor to con­struct a large sand fil­ter ad­ja­cent to the park­ing area on the south side of the drive­way as you en­ter the park.

The first step in a longterm ef­fort that could even­tu­ally bring swim­ming back to Sabin Point, the city is hop­ing the sand fil­ter will keep dirty runoff from pol­lut­ing wa­ters along the East Prov­i­dence shore­line

In ad­di­tion to the sand fil­tra­tion, city is plan­ning to use a $100,000 grant from the New Eng­land In­ter­state Wa­ter Pol­lu­tion Con­trol Com­mis­sion to con­duct wa­ter qual­ity mon­i­tor­ing and take on a sec­ond wa­ter qual­ity project that will see per­fo­rated pipes placed along Lo­cust and Wil­low streets to help re­duce the flow of stormwa­ter to the park. As in the case of the sand fil­ter, the city will use its own la­bor and equip­ment.

Ernest A. Brown/The Call

Sabin Point Park, a shore­front oa­sis at the end of Shore Road in River­side, shown here on Fri­day, is a quick get­away for fish­er­men, fam­i­lies en­joy­ing a pic­nic, or a nice spot to just beat the sum­mer heat.

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