CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — Rep. Joseph McNamara introduced a package of bills Tuesday aimed at protecting the Pawtuxet River from contamination.

The first bill would require the R.I. Department of Environmental Management (DEM) to develop a plan for flooding along the Pawtuxet River, with regard to contaminants leaching into the Pawtuxet River and neighboring wells.

McNamara said the impact of toxic material in the river was especially evident during the 2010 flood. When the river receded, he said varying depths of sediment emitting noxious odors were left on neighborhood properties.

“More frequent flooding due to climate change will have a contributing effect on the threat that this site poses to human health and the environment,” McNamara said. “The 2010 flood was described as a ‘100-year flood.’ Last year, 15 inches of rain fell in a few hours, flooding and closing Interstate 95 in Providence. If this storm had occurred two miles southwest, it would have led to a major flooding event.”

Another bill would amend the definition of solid waste to include PVC pipe that is abandoned, discarded, left lying on the ground or not stored in a covered facility.

The last bill would permit the director of the DEM to recognize and identify public rights-of-way to shoreline and water access over land owned by a private property.

“This legislation is designed to protect pathways and trails that have been historically used as access to waterways by the public,” McNamara explained. “It would give the director authority, based on several criteria spelled out in the legislation, to designate rights-of-way to our navigable rivers.”