There are plenty of small changes you can do from the safety and comfort of home — like reducing plastic consumption and waste — you can make to be greener.
Do Your Part, Be SepticSmart!
More than four billion gallons of wastewater are dispersed below the ground’s surface every day. Ground water contaminated by poorly or untreated household wastewater poses dangers to drinking water and to the environment. Malfunctioning septic systems release bacteria, viruses, and chemicals toxic to local waterways. When these pollutants are released into the ground, they eventually enter streams, rivers, lakes, and more, harming local ecosystems by killing native plants, fish, and shellfish. Help protect the environment AND your home's property value; find tips for maintaining your septic system here!
Pledge 5 is a call to action to make 5 small changes in your everyday life to make a change to help limit our impact on the environment. There are many ways you can help and it’s easier than you think! We've created a list that can help you get started. Click the link below and choose 5 changes or commitments you can make for the better. Then make a pledge to practice those 5 changes in your everyday life. If you’re already doing some of the things choose 5 new things to do. Small actions add up in a big way – One person, one family, one community, one workforce, one State can work together to help our environment
The theme for Earth Day 2022 is "Invest in our Planet" which focuses on accelerating solutions to combat our greatest threat, climate change, and to activate everyone – governments, citizens, and businesses – to do their part. Everyone accounted for, and everyone accountable. Climate change is the issue of our time that affects the health, safety, and prosperity of our communities. Rhode Island already is experiencing related effects and has so much at stake. The enormous challenge — but also the vast opportunities — of action on climate change have distinguished the issue as the most pressing concerns. Learn more on how Rhode Island is working to strengthen its resilience to climate change and to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions by viewing the RI snapshot on the Climate Change website.
Earth Day was founded in 1970 by former Governor and Senator of Wisconsin, Gaylord Nelson. The first Earth Day in 1970 rallied over 20 million Americans from around the country and on college campuses to get involved in environmental "teach-ins". This event, which was the largest grassroots mobilization in US history, created what has come to be known as the environmental movement. It was out of this event that came the first environmental legislation - the Clean Air and Clean Water acts.
Governor Daniel J. McKee is encouraging everyone to take part in ending litter in Rhode Island. Take the pledge and help us reach this goal.
Narragansett Bay is the defining feature of Rhode Island, covering 147 miles it forms the largest natural estuary in New England and sits at the heart of the state. Its riches are at once natural, recreational, aesthetic, cultural, economic, and spiritual. Residents and tourists alike depend on the coastal environment for both recreational and economical pursuits. DEM has responded to two significant oil spills in the Bay in 1989 and 1996.
On June 23, 1989, several hundred thousand gallons of fuel oil were spilled at the mouth of the Narragansett Bay in Rhode Island after the tanker MV World Prodigy ran aground on a reef near Aquidneck Island.
World Prodigy, a ship operated by Ballard Shipping under the Greek flag, was inbound to Providence when she ran aground offshore from Brenton Point State Park, after passing the wrong side of a buoy marking the channel. An estimated 300,000 gallons of oil was released into the Bay and covered close to 50 square miles. While much of the oil evaporated, the clean-up cost nearly $2 million.
After the collision, World Prodigy's captain, Iakovos Georgudis, was charged with two violations of the Clean Water Act and Ballard Shipping with one. Both the captain and company pleaded guilty; Ballard paid $1 million and Georgudis $10,000 in fines.
The North Cape oil spill took place on Friday, January 19, 1996, when the tank barge North Cape and the tug Scandia grounded off Moonstone Beach in South Kingstown, spilling an estimated 828,000 gallons of home heating oil. This spill was the worst in Rhode Island history, with oil spreading throughout a broad area of Block Island Sound and beyond, including shoreline of the Trustom Pond National Wildlife Refuge
More than 200 square miles of commercial fishery were closed for several months following the spill. Hundreds of oiled birds and large numbers of dead lobsters, surf clams, and sea stars were recovered in the weeks following the spill. State and federal agencies undertook considerable work to clean up the spill and restore lost fishery stocks and coastal marine habitat. The North Cape oil spill is considered a significant legal precedent in that it was the first major oil spill in the continental U.S. after the passage of the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, resulting from the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska on March 24, 1989. The law is designed to compensate the public for losses resulting from an oil spill. Over a year after the spill, the owners of the tug and paid a total of $9.5 million in criminal and other costs.
Many organizations were involved to find a solution to the disaster, and to find a way to clean up all the oil from the deep levels of the bay. DEM, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), US Fish & Wildlife service, and the United States Coast Guard, along with partners, worked together to create a restoration plan following the spill. Projects included restocking wildlife populations and protecting and enhancing their habitats. This incident and other disturbances have illustrated the need to improve both the ecological and social resilience of coastal environments.
Celebrate the outdoors at home! There are lots of fun activities you can do to right from your home, backyard, or neighborhood. Try some of these activities on your own or with your family!
DEM's Office of Compliance and Inspection (OC&I) investigates complaints and suspected violations of environmental laws and regulations and performs compliance monitoring of regulated activities. Compliance with environmental laws, rules, regulations, permits and licenses is enforced through both informal and formal enforcement actions. Formal enforcement includes orders and assessment of penalties that are subject to appeal and enforceable through the courts.