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Officials: no determination yet of impact of North Stonington accident on surface, groundwater

North Stonington — Officials have not yet determined if a Tuesday accident, in which a tractor-trailer carrying herbicides and pesticides caught fire on Interstate 95, affected surface and groundwater, Ledge Light Health District Director of Health Stephen Mansfield said Wednesday.

State Department of Energy and Environmental Protection spokesperson Kristina Rozek said Wednesday that sample results for the surface and groundwater in the area, including water quality in the Pawcatuck River and its tributaries, were not yet available.

She said there "are no restrictions on water usage, as the public wells are not in operation," but people "should continue to avoid the stream along Route 49 south of I-95 to the Pawcatuck River and including the Pawcatuck River."

A truck driving on I-95 north had crashed into the bridge over Route 49 on Tuesday afternoon, according to a Tuesday Facebook post from Mansfield.

"It has been determined that the tractor trailer was carrying various herbicides and pesticides," he wrote. "Though much of the materials were consumed by fire, DEEP is currently assessing the possible effects on surface and groundwater, including assessing water quality in the Pawcatuck River and its tributaries."

Rozek said soil was being excavated Wednesday in the area and monitoring wells have been installed to evaluate groundwater.

Mansfield said Wednesday that Ledge Light is reaching out to property owners to schedule well testing to get access to private drinking wells. Samples have not yet been taken. DEEP is the lead agency for the response following the accident, but the health district is assisting.

DEEP is working with local officials and the state Department of Public Health, as well as Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management and Department of Public Health, Rozek said.

k.drelich@theday.com

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