By: Tim Studebaker


BARRINGTON, R.I. (WLNE) – Like much of the water in southern New England, Hundred Acre Cove is picturesque, and it's a popular spot for recreation.

Save the Bay’s Narragansett Bay Riverkeeper, Kate McPherson, says, “It's a beautiful spot.  There's a wonderful boat launch where people go and they row.  You can launch your kayak there.  You can go fishing.”

But, there's something you can't see that's been a problem since the 1990s.

McPherson, says, “I think a lot of the users of Hundred Acre Cove just aren't aware of the bacteria problem that is present.  They know that they can't shellfish there. There's a sign.  But, they may not know the reasons why.”

The bacteria in question is fecal coliform, coming from the cove's main tributary, the Runnins River.

McPherson, says, “There's three communities on the Runnins River: Seekonk, Massachusetts; East Providence, Rhode Island; and Barrington, Rhode Island.”

It can be a challenge getting three communities in two states to work together toward a solution, especially when different state regulations come into play.

McPherson, says, “That's where Save the Bay has that unique opportunity to step in and get everybody talking to each other at one table.”

They're trying to find the sources of the bacteria.

McPherson, says, “Things like storm water runoff, or an improperly functioning septic system, or a really old septic system, or something like a cesspool.”

They'll be looking at studies and data for the next two years to finally come up with a solution.

McPherson, says, “We're really optimistic that working together with the towns and our state partners that we'll be able to make a difference here.”

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