What are RI Towns Doing?
Block Island
South Kingstown

The BIGHP Project

RIWIS (Rhode Island Wastewater Information System)

Onsite Systems Basics
Onsite treatment systems
Property owner's guide

Wastewater Manager's Toolkit
Creating a management plan
Drafting an ordinance
Developing treatment standards
Funding and staffing a program
Getting the message out
Tracking inspections
Achieving results

Onsite System Research and Assessment
Demonstration systems
Soil suitability
Using GIS for evaluation
Water quality monitoring

Training and technical support

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Block Island


About Block Island

Located 10 miles off the southern Rhode Island shore, Block Island is a year-round home to about 1000 people. However, the population of the 9.7 square mile island swells to over 10,000 people, and a substantial number of summer cottages have been converted to year-round use without improvements to the wastewater treatment system. The Island’s water resources consist of a designated sole source aquifer, coastal embayments, drinking water reservoirs, freshwater wetlands, and ponds, all of which are vulnerable to contamination. Eighty percent of year-round residents and 54% of visitors use onsite wastewater treatment systems. The Island is a popular eco-tourism destination, and the strength of the local economy depends upon the health of the water resources and unique natural areas. Appropriate onsite wastewater treatment is essential to prevent pathogens and nutrients from harming the water supply and to maintain recreational and commercial fishing, shell fishing, boating, and swimming.

Quick Facts

• Island community of 10 square miles, 10 miles off Rhode Island shore; 42% of land in conservation
• Population: Year-round 1000; summer overnight 10,000 plus thousands of day trippers and up to 1500 boats in harbors
• 1268 onsite treatment systems
• Public sewer and water utilities serve major business district; over 200 buildings on sewer

Summary of Wastewater Management Program and Current Results

History of Wastewater Management on Block Island

Goals of Wastewater Management Program

Financial Aid Available

Documents & Downloads


Copyright 2006 URI Water Quality Program