RI finds toxins in soil at highway construction site

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Rhode Island officials have found toxins in soil brought in by a contractor building highway interchange in Providence and have ordered its removal.

Samples taken from the soil at the construction site at the interchange between Routes 6 and 10 contained elevated levels of contaminants, Rhode Island officials said on Wednesday.

The Massachusetts-based contractor Barletta Heavy Division brought in the contaminated soil as backfill from another project, officials said.

A spokesperson for the state's Department of Transportation said it had ordered the contractors to remove all contaminated soil and dispose of it at a licensed facility.

Officials are also barring the contractor from bringing in any additional soil from its other projects to the site.

The $410 million project includes repairs to seven bridges, according to the Department of Transportation website. Work started in 2018.

Local 57 of the International Union of Operating Engineers, whose members are working at the site, first reported toxins in August, the Providence Journal reported.

The contractor directed a request for comment to the project manager, who could not be reached by the newspaper.

Testing over the weekend by the state's Department of Environmental Management found two toxins, one of which is a carcinogen, in the soil brought to the site.