Public Health & Recreation

Appeal Allows Quarry to Continue Its Polluting Ways


Runoff from the Hopkins Hill Sand & Stone quarry has washed silt and gravel into the waters of the nearby Big River Management Area. (Frank Carini/ecoRI News)

More than three months ago the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management told Hopkins Hill Sand & Stone to knock it off. The West Greenwich quarry appealed. Nothing has changed. The Cardi Corp. subsidiary is still operating illegally and polluting a nearby conservation area.

In late February, the Department of Environmental Management (DEM) issued a notice of violation (NOV) to Hopkins Hill Sand & Stone LLC and Hopkins Hill Road Realty LLC for environmental violations arising from the mining of sand and stone at a facility on New London Turnpike. They had 90 days to respond.

Hopkins Hill Sand & Stone operates the mining and processing facility, and Hopkins Hill Road Realty is the property owner. The site abuts the Big River Management Area, a 8,319-acre conservation area that features streams, wetlands, and the Big, Nooseneck, Congdon, and Carr rivers.

The NOV charged both parties with violations of Rhode Island’s Water Pollution Control Act and state water-quality and pollutant-discharge elimination system regulations. The enforcement action included a $67,896 penalty. It also required the parties to immediately cease the discharge of all processed water and stormwater from the facility to nearby wetlands until a permit is issued and all the required controls are installed and operational.

No corrective actions have reportedly been executed. Quarry runoff is still a problem. The fine hasn’t been paid.

ecoRI News recently asked DEM about the NOV’s status. The agency responded in a June 4 email that, “The company filed an appeal, and once they did that, everything in the NOV was stayed. We did meet with them, but nothing has come of it. To our knowledge no work has been done on the property to address the NOV, and the discharges are continuing.”

A follow-up email that asked two questions — How long will this remain in limbo? What is the next step? — didn’t receive a response.

Hopkins Hill Sand & Stone has been operating without a Rhode Island pollutant discharge elimination system permit for 16 years. This longtime pollution has left visible scars on the Big River Management Area.

While conducting compliance inspections of the quarry in May 2018, DEM observed turbid water containing silt and sediment being discharged toward wetlands. In June, the agency issued the letter of noncompliance.

During another inspection in June 2019 DEM again found turbid water containing silt and sediment.

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