This is the tenth anniversary of “the biggest project you’ll never see,” otherwise known as Narragansett Bay Commission’s Combined Sewer Overflow Project (CSO). It’s been ten years since the Project went on-line and the results have been impressive — Phases I and II of the CSO have captured and treated 9.2 billion gallons of pollution, immensely benefitting the Bay and the state as a whole.
In 2017 RI DEM was able to reclassify 3,700 acres of shellfishing area in the upper bay to “permanently open”, ending 70 years of regular rainfall-based closures; protecting public health and fostering a robust Rhode Island seafood industry. More than 28 million pounds of quahogs were harvested which on their own added $5.5 million to the Rhode Island economy. Rhode Islanders and tourists alike can also thank the CSO project for their summertime fun as beach closures have decreased by 85% since the opening of the project! Further going well beyond the minimum standard, water quality at all the beaches throughout the Bay has dramatically improved, with great health benefits for all of us.
To celebrate NBC’s mission and their success in greatly improving water quality and increasing healthy fish stocks all across RI, WaterFire created “Clear Currents” celebration. Up to 100 kayakers and canoeists will once again take to the water with glowing fish floating above their vessels. The fish will illuminate and animate the rivers all night long at this coming July 28th WaterFire in an immensely popular and beautiful arts event.
WaterFire creates this event each year to thank the Narragansett Bay Commission for their work and to raise awareness among RI voters as to the success and importance of this project that maintains the health and cleanliness of our greatest resource: water. WaterFire is proud to salute NBC for this great work that brings new life to the waterways and communities of Rhode Island.
Phase III of NBC’s CSO project is currently under design and will further improve water quality while incorporating additional “green Infrastructure” elements to better manage stormwater and is slated to be completed by 2025. All of this is made possible by the hard work and dedication of the NBC, which justly deserves their numerous accolades in recognition of their innovation and accomplishments.
Please join us at WaterFire on Saturday, July 28, to enjoy this arts spectacle!
Post thumbnail image: Clear Currents paddlers in Waterplace Basin. Photograph by Jen Bonin.
About the author
I've worked at WaterFire Providence since 2003. For the first 9 years of my career, I worked in the Production Shop learning all of the details that go into the physical production of the event. In 2012 transitioned to the role of managing WaterFire's social media and web presence. I now head up WaterFire Providence's digital projects including, web, social, databases, and our physical IT infrastructure.