COVENTRY — The cleaning up of various lakes in town has begun after developer Nicholas Cambio and the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM) came to an agreement.
Compliance and Inspection Chief for RIDEM David Chopy explained he had originally received complaints from the Tiogue Lake Association about sediment being dumped in the lakes.
After investigating, it was discovered that Cambio was responsible.
In January 2007, Cambio was issued a violation for discharging storm water from his properties at Centre of New England Blvd. into adjacent wetlands and bodies of water.
Chopy said the storm water contained sediment, which can be hazardous for the lakes. The inorganic sediment included sand, gravel and silt.
“Silt, which is a finer grain material, affects the lakes more,” he said. “If you put sand from the beach into a glass jar of water, the sand will instantly sink to the bottom, but the silt tends to float around and it takes longer to settle.”
He explained that when silt gets discharged into lakes it can cause numerous problems.
Once it settles it can interfere with light, which in turn affects the underwater plants.
“If plants don’t get the light they need to grow the fish won’t get the food they need from the plants, which causes a drop in the food supply,” he said.
He said another problem with sediment being dumped in the lakes is sediment can get into the fish’s gills and smother them. Also, when it settles, it can smother all the organisms that live on the bottom of the lakes, like snails and worms, which can affect the food chain.
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