In September 2017, the Rhode Island Department of Health discovered that the well that serves Collins’ home and some 34 others in Oakland village was contaminated with a class of widely used chemicals that many experts believe is contributing to a global public-health crisis. Follow-up tests in the neighborhood a few weeks later found the same substances in six private wells.
On Friday morning, local, state and federal officials gathered in a dusty parking lot in Oakland to celebrate construction of the new water line from Harrisville.
Work had started weeks ago, but this was the official groundbreaking ceremony, attended by, among others, Jeffrey R. Diehl, CEO of the Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank, which is financing the project, and Jane Downing, the acting deputy director of the EPA’s water division in New England.
The $2.85 million needed to complete the new line is coming entirely from federal dollars funneled to the Infrastructure Bank through the EPA.