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The Blackstone River
River
is a river in the U.S. states of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. It flows approximately 48 mi (80 km) and drains a watershed of approximately 540 sq. mi (1,400 km²). Its long history of industrial use has left a legacy of pollution, and was characterized by the United States
United States
Environmental Protection Agency in 1990 as "the most polluted river in the country with respect to toxic sediments."[1]

Contents

1 History 2 Course 3 Pollution and remediation efforts 4 Crossings 5 Tributaries 6 See also 7 Notes 8 References 9 External links

History[edit]

Blackstone River
River
at the Blackstone River
River
and Canal Heritage State Park, near Mass./R.I. state line

The river is named after William Blackstone (original spelling William Blaxton) who arrived in Weymouth, Massachusetts
Massachusetts
in 1623, and became the first European settler of present-day Boston in 1625. He relocated again, to Rhode Island
Rhode Island
in 1635 and built his home on the river, in what would become Cumberland. With the Providence River, the Blackstone was the northeastern border of Dutch claims for New Netherland from Adriaen Block's charting of Narragansett Bay
Narragansett Bay
in 1614 through the Hartford Treaty of 1650. The original Native American name for the river was the "Kittacuck", which meant "the great tidal river". The "Kittacuck", or Blackstone, was plentiful with salmon and lamprey in pre-colonial and colonial times.[2] In 1790, Samuel Slater
Samuel Slater
opened the first successful water powered cotton mill in America, Slater Mill, at Pawtucket Falls. This mill was powered by the waters of the Blackstone River. Many other mills appeared along the Blackstone River
River
over time making it an important part of American industry. The industrialization also led to the river being identified by the end of the 20th century as the primary source of Narragansett Bay
Narragansett Bay
pollution.[3] In August 1955, severe flooding on the Blackstone caused extensive damage to Woonsocket, Rhode Island. Where the river is usually 70 feet (21 m) wide it swelled to over 1 mile (1.6 km) wide.[citation needed] The flooding of the Blackstone was the result of a succession of dam breaks and was caused by rainfall from Hurricane Connie followed a week later by Hurricane Diane, which together deposited over 20 inches (510 mm) of rain in parts of Rhode Island
Rhode Island
and Massachusetts.[4] The Blackstone river reached a stage of 21.8 feet (6.6 m) in Woonsocket, which remains the flood of record; flood stage is 9.0 feet (2.7 m).[5] The river, together with the Woonasquatucket River
River
to the south, was designated an American Heritage River
River
in 1998. Course[edit] The river is formed in Worcester, Massachusetts
Massachusetts
by the confluence of the Middle River
River
and Mill Brook. From there, it follows a rough southeast course through Millbury, Sutton, Grafton, Northbridge, Uxbridge, Millville, and Blackstone. It then continues into Rhode Island, where it flows through Woonsocket, Cumberland, Lincoln, Central Falls, and Pawtucket, where the river then reaches Pawtucket Falls. After that, the river becomes tidal, and flows into the Seekonk River
River
just north of Providence. Other tributaries join the Blackstone along the way, such as the West and Mumford River, at Uxbridge, and The Branch River
River
in North Smithfield. Pollution and remediation efforts[edit] The Blackstone River
River
has a long association with industry, and a legacy of pollution as a result. By 1900 the river was already considered polluted and the Massachusetts
Massachusetts
Department of Public Health said in a report, "The Department finds that the condition of the Blackstone River
River
is offensive throughout its course, from Worcester to the state line at Blackstone. The condition of the stream is likely to grow worse until effective measures are completed for removing from the river much of the pollution which it now receives."[6] Little was actually done to abate this pollution for the next 72 years, until the passage of the Clean Water Act
Clean Water Act
began to spur some action on the part of States and the Federal Government to clean up polluted rivers and streams. Progress was slow, and as recently as 1990, the United States Environmental Protection Agency called the Blackstone, "The most polluted river in the country with respect to toxic sediments."[1] Early industries discharged a variety of pollutants into the river including dyes from textile mills and heavy metals and solvents from metal and woodworking industries.[6] Much of this early pollution lies trapped in sediments behind historic dams on the river and continues to affect the ecosystem today. Much recent pollution can be traced to the Upper Blackstone Water Pollution Abatement District (UBWPAD), the wastewater treatment plant for Worcester, Massachusetts
Massachusetts
and surrounding communities, which discharges into the Blackstone. A 2005 report written by the Rhode Island
Rhode Island
Department of Environmental Management said, ". . . [the] UBWPAD, North Attleboro, and Attleboro WWTFs play a significant role in the ability to improve water quality in the Providence and Seekonk River
Seekonk River
system [into which the Blackstone discharges], and efforts to reduce their nitrogen inputs should be initiated as soon as possible."[7] In September 2010, the Conservation Law Foundation, citing this report, filed a lawsuit claiming that the discharge permit issued to the UBWPAD by the Environmental Protection Agency is not "sufficient to meet state water quality standards."[8] River
River
cleanup is still underway, and today the Blackstone is considered a Class C river (suitable only for "secondary contact" activities like boating) for much of its length.[9] Crossings[edit]

Blackstone River
River
at Ashton, RI (Ashton Viaduct)

Below is a list of all crossings over the Blackstone River. The list starts at the headwaters and goes downstream.

Worcester

Millbury Street Massachusetts
Massachusetts
State Route 122A/146 (Twice)

Millbury

Southwest Cutoff (U.S. 20) Access Road Interstate 90 Main Street Massachusetts
Massachusetts
State Route 146 MA 146 Ramp to Main Street Waters Street Elm Street South Main Street Providence Street (MA 122A) Riverlin Street

Sutton

Blackstone Street Depot Street

Grafton

Pleasant Street Main Street (MA 122A) Depot Street

Northbridge

Sutton Street Providence Road (MA 122) Elston Avenue Church Street Extension

Uxbridge

East Hartford Avenue Mendon Street (MA 16) Millville Road (MA 122)

Millville

Central Street Cam's Street

Blackstone

Bridge Street St. Paul Street

Woonsocket

Singleton Street River
River
Street Fairmount Street Sayles Street South Main Street (RI 104) Bernon Street Court Street (RI 122) Hamlet Avenue (RI 122/126) Rhode Island
Rhode Island
State Route 99

Cumberland

Manville Hill Road School Street Interstate 295 George Washington Highway (RI 116) Blackstone River
River
Bikeway Martin Street Lonsdale Avenue (RI 122) John Street (RI 123)

Central Falls

Broad Street (RI 114) Roosevelt Avenue Cross Street

Pawtucket

Exchange Street (RI 15/114 Southbound)

Tributaries[edit] In addition to many unnamed tributaries, the following brooks and rivers feed the Blackstone:

Worcester Aqueduct Dorothy Brook Cronin Brook Quinsigamond River Mumford River West River Still Corner Brook Emerson Brook Bacon Brook Aldrich Brook Ironstone Brook Branch River Fox Brook Cherry Brook Mill River Peters River Crookfall Brook West Sneech Brook Monastery Brook Abbott Run

See also[edit]

List of rivers in Massachusetts List of rivers in Rhode Island Blackstone River
River
Valley National Historical Park Blackstone River
River
and Canal Heritage State Park Blackstone Valley Seekonk River Woonasquatucket River Ten Mile River
River
(Seekonk River) William Blaxton

Notes[edit]

^ a b "Blackstone River
River
Watershed". Rhode Island
Rhode Island
Rivers Council. Retrieved 2010-12-28.  ^ source document: Metcalf, Annals of the History of Mendon, 1880. ^ Blackstone River
River
Watershed – Five-Year Watershed Action Plan, First Draft Archived March 3, 2007, at the Wayback Machine. ^ "The Floods of Hurricane Connie
Hurricane Connie
and Diane". National Weather Service. Retrieved 2011-02-23.  ^ "Blackstone River
River
Hydrograph". National Weather Service - Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service. Retrieved 2011-02-23.  ^ a b Kerr, Meg (1990). " Rhode Island
Rhode Island
Sea Grant Fact Sheet: The Blackstone River". Archived from the original on 2010-06-12. Retrieved 2010-12-29.  ^ "Plan for Managing Nutrient Loadings to Rhode Island
Rhode Island
Waters" (PDF). Rhode Island
Rhode Island
Department of Environmental Management. 2005-02-01. Retrieved 2010-12-29.  ^ " Conservation Law Foundation Seeks Stricter Controls on Nitrogen Pollution in Upper Blackstone Water Pollution Abatement District to Restore Water Quality in Massachusetts
Massachusetts
and Rhode Island". 2010-09-28. Retrieved 2010-12-29.  ^ BLACKSTONE RIVER WATERSHED 2003 - 2007 WATER QUALITY ASSESSMENT REPORT (PDF), Massachusetts
Massachusetts
Department of Environmental Protection Division of Watershed Management, March 2010, pp. xi, retrieved 2010-12-29 

References[edit]

Maps from the United States
United States
Geological Survey

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Blackstone River.

Providence Journal video of the Blackstone River Various Views Along the Blackstone River YouTube video of various still photos from the 1955 flood

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Rivers of Massachusetts

Atlantic Ocean

Tiasquam River

Buzzards Bay

Acushnet River Agawam River Back River Copicut River Crooked River Mattapoisett River Nasketucket River Paskamanset River Pocasset River Sippican River Slocums River Wankinco River Westport River Weweantic River

Cape Cod Bay

Eel River Herring River Jones River Little Pamet River Pamet River Town Brook

Connecticut River
River
Watershed

Burnshirt River Chapel Brook Chicopee River Connecticut River Cranberry River Deerfield River East Brookfield River Farmington River Fall River Five Mile River Green River Hubbard River Manhan River Mill River
River
(Northampton) Mill River
River
(Springfield) Millers River Mirey Brook North Branch Millers River North Branch Westfield River North River Otter River Quaboag River Scantic River Seven Mile River Tarbell Brook Ware River Westfield River

Gulf of Maine

Annisquam River Blackwater River Eagle Hill River Egypt River Ipswich River Roger Island River Rowley River Skug River

Housatonic River
River
Watershed

Housatonic River Konkapot River Schenob Brook Umpachene River

Hudson River
River
Watershed

Hoosic River Kinderhook Creek

Massachusetts
Massachusetts
Bay

Aberjona River Alewife Brook Canton River Charles River Chelsea Creek Cochato River Fore River Fresh River Indian Head River Malden River Millers River Monatiquot River Mother Brook Muddy River Mystic River Neponset River North River Saugus River Stony Brook (Boston) Stony Brook (Waltham) Stop River Weir River Weymouth Back River

Merrimack River
River
Watershed

Artichoke River Assabet River Back River Beaver Brook Cochichewick River Concord River Little River Merrimack River Nashua River Nissitissit River North Nashua River Phillips Brook Powwow River Quinapoxet River Salmon
Salmon
Brook Shawsheen River South Branch Souhegan River South Nashua River Spicket River Squannacook River Stillwater River Sudbury River Trout Brook Vine Brook Whitman River

Nantucket Sound

Bass River Bumps River Childs River Coonamesset River Mashpee River Mitchell River Oyster Pond River Popponesset Creek Quashnet River Santuit River

Narragansett Bay

Barrington River Cole River Coles Brook Kickamuit River Lees River Palmer River Runnins River

Providence River
River
Watershed

Abbott Run Blackstone River Bungay River Chockalog River Mill River Mumford River Peters River Quinsigamond River Sevenmile River Tannery River Ten Mile River Thacher River West River Wilde River

Taunton River
River
Watershed

Assonet River Canoe River Cedar Swamp River Cocasset River Cotley River Forge River Hockomock River Matfield River Mill River Nemasket River Poor Meadow Brook Quequechan River Rumford River Salisbury Plain River Satucket River Segreganset River Shumatuscacant River Snake River Taunton River Three Mile River Town River Wading River Winnetuxet River

Thames River
River
Watershed

French River Quinebaug River

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Rivers of Rhode Island

Narragansett Bay

Annaquatucket River Barrington River Hunt River Kickamuit River Maidford River Maiford River Maskerchugg River Mattatuxet River Palmer River Pettaquamscutt River Pine River Potowomut River Quaket River Runnins River Sakonnet River Saugatucket River Warren River

Pawcatuck River
River
Watershed

Ashaway River Beaver River Chipuxet River Flat River
River
(Wood) Green Fall River Pawcatuck River Queen River Usquepaug River Wood River

Providence River
River
Watershed

Abbott Run Big River Blackstone River Branch River Carr River Chepachet River Chockalog River Clear River Congdon River Flat River
River
(South Branch Pawtuxet) Mill River Millers River Mishnock River Moshassuck River Moswansicut River Nipmuc River Nooseneck River North Branch Pawtuxet River Pascoag River Pawtuxet River Peters River Pocasset River Ponaganset River Providence River Seekonk River Sevenmile River South Branch Pawtuxet River Stillwater River Ten Mile River West River Wilde River Woonasquatucket River

Thames River
River
Watershed

Moosup River

v t e

Narragansett Bay

Islands

Aquidneck Island Conanicut Island Prudence Island Patience Island Hog Island Dutch Island Coaster's Harbor Island Cornelius Island Despair Island Dyer Island Fox Island Goat Island Gould Island Greene Island Hope Island Lime Rock Rabbit Island Rock Island Rose Island Starvegoat Island Whale Rock

Major rivers

Blackstone River Pawtuxet River Providence River Taunton River Sakonnet River Seekonk River

Cities & towns

Providence Newport Cranston Warwick East Providence Barrington Bristol East Greenwich Jamestown Middletown Narragansett North Kingstown Portsmouth Warren

Bridges

Claiborne Pell Newport Bridge Jamestown Verrazzano Bridge Mount Hope Bridge Sakonnet River
River
Bridge Jamestown Bridge

v t e

American Heritage Rivers

Rivers

Blackstone & Woonasquatucket Connecticut Cuyahoga Detroit Hanalei Hudson Lower Mississippi Potomac New Rio Grande St. Johns Upper Mississippi Upper Susquehanna & Lackawanna Willamette

v t e

Providence River
River
Watershed

Tributaries

Abbott Run Big River Blackstone River Branch River Bungay River Carr River Chepachet River Chockalog River Clear River Congdon River Flat River Mill River Millers River Mishnock River Moshassuck River Moswansicut River Mumford River Nipmuc River Nooseneck River North Branch Pawtuxet River Pascoag River Pawtuxet River Peters River Pocasset River Ponaganset River Providence River Quinsigamond River Seekonk River Sevenmile River South Branch Pawtuxet River Stillwater River Tannery River Ten Mile River Thacher River West River
River
(MA) West River
River
(RI) Wilde River Woonasqua

.