Town Council Hears Black Tar Substance Concerns from Residents

Wood Estates North and Westwood Estates residents are most affected.


At a Work Session of the Coventry Town Council Monday night, over 40 residents from Wood Estates North and Westwood Estates attended Town Council Chambers to voice many concerns about possible dangers to health and personal property from a black and sticky substance that continues to be deposited on their cars, driveways, trees and properties.

Tammy Duxbury of Wood Estates North said it is more than just a “pervasive black, oily sheen” that worries her family and other neighbors. “We have had independent tests done that indicate the presence of TPH, or total petroleum hydrocarbons and titanium. Some TPH, like benzene, is carcinogenic.”

Town Manager, Thomas Hoover, a resident of Wood Estates North, has also been affected. He brought out a plastic cover that had been discolored from the unknown substance.

“Tests from samples we took from some sites in the area indicated they are a variety of molds and fungus,” said David Chopy, Rhode Island DEM/Compliance & Inspection Director of his microscopic analysis of the substance. Chemical tests were not conducted, he added.

Chopy and a representative from the URI Master Gardener program agreed that the substance looks like what has been affecting not only Rhode Island but southeastern Connecticut, also.

Various residents told of spending up to several hundred dollars for tests or to clean their properties. A few asked if they could be reimbursed for the cost.

Town Council President Cote asked if “the white elephant” in the room was the belief that one or both asphalt plants in the area might be one of the causes of the oily residue and most raised their hands.

“We would think it would cost $7,600 for an independent test to be made to find out what the substance is,” said Duxbury. “But we want it be totally independent of the town or be fully certified to conduct these tests.”

“That is a lot of money, but we have no choice but to find the money with which to do this,” said Cote. “The council will act on this, find the money and get results. All of us want to know what is causing this.”

Leave RI September 13, 2012 at 02:52 PM
haHa GoOd pOiNt
John September 13, 2012 at 05:09 PM
I think you are on to something, Problem is if it's the planes or the plant nothing will be done! As far as "Madd Hatter" I don't live near wood estates and have all pine trees around me. I put up a brand new deck with white plastic and it's almost black. It's not mold.
mad hatter September 13, 2012 at 05:45 PM
john, its throughout RI and in south east CT. there is a concentration in wood estates. the droplets they produce are super fine like a mist that can be carried a long way in the wind. i bet you have oak within 1000 feet of your place. like the DEM said, its mold and fungus. come to wood estates and check the sidewalks under the trees. i did a ton of research this spring and all evidence points to scale. if i thought it were something else, i would be the first one to lead the charge against any commercial polluters.
coventry voter-Jay September 13, 2012 at 06:09 PM
Maybe this was already said but, any thought of the balck stuff blowing in from the CT tire burning plant just over the line?
RS September 17, 2012 at 02:16 PM
I live in the Western end of Town and we have no black coating on anything. I've been to the tire plant and the only think that comes out is steam... It's a very clean operation.


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