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Assessing changes in contaminant fluxes following removal of a dam in the Pawtuxet River
Mark G. Cantwell, Monique M. Perro, Julia C. Sulliva, David R. Katz, Robert M. Burgess
Date Created and/or Issued
Contributing Institution
UC Riverside, Library, Water Resources Collections and Archives
Clearinghouse for Dam Removal Information (CDRI)
Rights Information
Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owner. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.
Scope/Content: Abstract: Abstract Restoration of rivers and their associated ecosystems is a growing priority for government agencies (e.g., NOAA, USDA), as well as conservation organizations. Dam removal is a major component of many restoration projects credited with reintroducing fish species, improving water and habitat quality, and increasing recreation potential. Many proposed locations for restoration, however, have been impacted by past discharges of chemical pollutants resulting in contaminated sediment. As a result, the potential exists for release of sequestered contaminants following dam removal or other restoration activities. Few, if any, dam removal projects have studied the release of contaminants from the sediments following removal. In this study, we measured dissolved and particulate concentrations of polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) before and after removal of an existing low head dam at several sites in the Pawtuxet River, an urbanized river in Cranston, RI. Preliminary results indicate that dissolved concentrations of PAHs decreased at one site above the dam location following removal, while concentrations remained unchanged below the dam at the mouth of the river which discharges to Narragansett Bay. Particulate concentrations of PAHs collected in sediment traps showed a decrease following dam removal at all sites within the river and at the river mouth. Results from this study will be used to evaluate methods under development to assess the short- and long-term impact of ecological restoration activities such as dam removal.
Scope/Content: Dam type: concrete
Scope/Content: Date constructed: 1870. Date removed: 2011.
Ecology and river restoration
Pre- and post-project monitoring
Sediment and channel dynamics
Dam retirement
Pawtuxet River, Not Specified
Pawtuxet Falls dam

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