Pisaturo suggests abandoning drilling for Bayside sewers

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A proposal that the Warwick Sewer Authority seeks to lower the cost of sewers for 937 Bayside property owners by using conventional means of construction has outraged a member of the Narragansett Indians and runs counter to an agreement reached by the EPA, the state and the authority.

Former Ward 5 Councilman Carlo Pisaturo, who was appointed to the authority by Mayor Joseph Solomon, said Thursday he plans to suggest at a meeting of the authority finance committee this evening that directional drilling for the project be abandoned, which he believes would eliminate the need for pumps for most homes and reduce the overall cost of the project estimated at $23 million to $27 million. According to estimates, individual assessments would be in the range of $24,000 to $28,000.

After more than 20 years of discussions and even developing plans for a Bayside system, directional drilling that would eliminate the need to excavate roads was selected when it was confirmed Native Americans had once heavily populated the area. Evidence of Indians was unearthed in diggings conducted on Tidewater Drive and surrounding roads.

“Forget all the stuff with the Indians and do it the conventional way,” Pisaturo said.

He points out that other utilities, including water and gas lines, run underneath the Bayside roads and the area has been already disturbed. Further, he points out, with a gravity system rather than the low-pressure system now on the drawing boards, there would be no need for homes to have pumps. The pumps, he points out, operate on 220 volts, and he believes many of the homes affected are on 60 amp services, meaning additional upgrading expenses to the homeowner.

“Pocahontas and Tonto have had their day,” Pisaturo said. “It’s over.”

Pisaturo said he is not aware of Indian gravesites in the path of the sewers, and even should bones be found, who is to say they are human and, if human, who is to say they belong to Native Americans? He noted that there are historic cemeteries throughout the city and he wouldn’t be surprised if burials might be found.

“The cost is going to be excessive,” Pisaturo said of directional drilling, although he didn’t offer cost estimates. “We have to get moving on it [Bayside sewers],” he said.

Pisaturo acknowledged that Mayor Solomon finds the project “excessive” and understands the mayor’s hesitance to move ahead with construction until all the options have been explored. The project was to have gone out for bid with an award and start construction this summer when Janine Burke-Wells retired as authority director in the spring. Concerned over the financial impact on the city, although the cost would be paid through a revenue bond with repayment by the homeowners, Solomon wanted further review and the schedule was delayed.

Based on interviews with John Brown, historic preservation officer for the Narragansett Indians, and the memorandum of agreement signed in 2017 by the city, the state and the Environmental Protection Agency, directional drilling will be used for the project wherever possible.

To start, Brown questioned whether conventional construction would be less costly. Brown said the tribe was not party to the agreement worked out by the city, state and EPA.

“We went ahead under the claim that they needed to get this project done,” he said.

Brown has been informed of what was found at sites throughout the project area. He does not want to talk about specifics for fear that it may prompt “treasure hunters” to further disrupt what he calls “sacred sites.” He adds that knowingly disrupting sacred sites is a federal offense.

As to existing utilities in the area, he said if in the course of doing repairs or upgrades to gas and water lines, artifacts are uncovered work must cease and authorities notified.

Brown said he has not been contacted by the sewer authority recently and was unaware of Pisaturo’s suggestion that conventional construction means be explored.

The District 1 regional office of the EPA provided a copy of the 17-page agreement. In part it reads:

“To mitigate potential effects to historic properties, the WSA will pursue directional drilling as the preferred method for sewer system construction to the extent possible. Certain areas that will require excavation [jack and bore pits, manholes and service connections] will be defined by the WSA with specific boundary limits and identified in a pre-design plan. Prior to construction of the sewer mains and service connections, the WSA will conduct archaeological identification surveys of the excavation boundary limits identified in the preliminary design plans.”

Comments

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Warwick_Resident1998

Pisaturo is the Fredo of Warwick. What a jackass. “Pocahontas and Tanto have had their day”...what an insensitive, stupid, thing to say.

Tuesday, August 13
FastFredward 4

FREDO ==== he was hand pick . 4k plus 3 k 7000.k not bad FREDO.

5 days ago
Steve Sylven

I understand Mr. Pisaturo's frustration. What's driving the design and cost of the project is the Federal requirements for archaeological research and that the EPA is not providing funding. Back in the '70s, when the majority of the sewer system was constructed, the EPA funded 75% of the cost. Unfortunately, that funding doesn't exits today. What also adds to the project cost are agreements with the Narragansett Indians that compensate them for overseeing archeological digging.

5 days ago
Hillsgrove Hal

Warwick_Resident1998, it's hard to believe that anyone would say such an ignorant thing, especially an elected leader of the city. Laws that protect Native American historic sites are there for a reason, and the city is bound by them just like any other community.

Councilman Pisaturo should apologize for making such an arrogant and uninformed statement.

5 days ago
perky

why burden tax payers even more than they have been if the indians were so concerned then they should have kept the land i think any remains that they come across should be moved to a place like roger williams park with a monument for them its funny people will let fags get married and thats ok but charge the taxpays because of some bones maybe everyone should knock there house down to show respect for the indians

5 days ago
perky

this is america still i think everyone is allowed to speak there mind gina hasnt turned ri into a nazi state yet

5 days ago
Roger

Perky, since you lack a brain ill Explain one point to you. Your comment “if the Indians were so concerned then they should have kept their land” is the dumbest comment yet. Native American Indiana’s didn’t have a choice to “keep” their land it was taken from them.

5 days ago
Roger

Sorry Indians. Damn Autocorrect

5 days ago
wwkvoter

If pisaturo wasnt so stupid and ignorant, and understood public policy, he could have challenged how much archeology he thinks is justified when balanced with the ability of the public to pay. Maybe he would be wrong, but no one would be looking for his removal if he put it that way. But, instead, he decided to disrespect the Native Americans on multiple levels, past and present, reopen old wounds, and disqualify himself from this debate. What an ignoramus.

5 days ago
BEN DOVER

Jabba knows how to pick them...When selecting teams for Warwick's first "Nitwit Jeopardy" team, I have first dibs on Carlo, Bachus and Travis...Hey Jabba, if you wanted to pick someone for the authority, why didn't you pick Al Gemma?

I am pretty sure he wrote the original legislation for the $130M sewer bond...I could be wrong, but I think Carlo jumped in late to get his name as a co-sponsor...BOY, for someone who is a lawyer, a CPA and a long serving politician, you seem prone to shooting yourself in the foot...holy cow!

5 days ago
Warwick_Resident1998

Not the first time Carlo’s mouth has gotten him

In hot water. Remember when he called the Warwick Police Department a “bunch of Stormtroopers”?

Pepperidge Farm remembers.

5 days ago
Samuel

Hilsgrove Hal. He is not an elected official, he is an appointed board member. He was a councilman like 20 years ago

5 days ago
Jimmy

Anyone know when the FBI raids are going to start?

4 days ago
Honestinfo

I’m just glad he didn’t kill small animals.

4 days ago
Hillsgrove Hal

Samuel. thanks for the correction. I should have written "former elected leader."

4 days ago
Cat

pesky - did you graduate from a Warwick school? Is that why you made the statement " if the indians were so concerned then they should have kept the land"? I think you may have skipped history class during your entire educations experience.

4 days ago
FBI Raids Coming

jimmy, the FBI is probably stuck because they dont know where to start. or where to end, for that matter! this IS rhode island after all ;)

4 days ago
DannyHall82

I might be wrong but didn't the Airport move an entire Cemetery?

3 days ago
Jimmy

My comment was sarcastic because the only two dopes preaching FBI raid are the two dopes running our city. THERE ARE NO FBI INVESTIGATIONS, other than them looking into our council pres. It would be great if The Beacon did a story in that. I won’t hold my breath.

3 days ago