Thursday, September 22, 2016
The Baker-Polito Administration today delivered a new emergency spill response trailer to the City of Springfield to assist local first-responders in the event of spills of oil or other hazardous materials that may pose a risk to freshwater resources. The trailer contains crucial spill response equipment, such as containment boom, absorbent pads and buoys.
“This trailer offers Springfield emergency equipment essential to mitigating an oil spill during the first few hours of an incident,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “This effort provides added assurance that Springfield and other nearby communities will have the tools to be ready to protect our rivers, lakes and wetlands.”
“Environmental protection is a collaborative effort,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “With the strategic placement of a response trailer in Springfield, we are creating a strong, collaborative team with the local fire department that will help to preserve our natural resources.”
At a ceremony held today at Riverfront Park in Springfield, Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) Commissioner Martin Suuberg presented a trailer to Springfield Mayor Domenic J. Sarno and emergency response officials from the city. Recently, the inland communities of Brockton, Fitchburg, Lowell, Marlborough, Milford and Sturbridge also received trailers, and three more will be distributed to communities in western Massachusetts.
“An oil spill could quickly inundate a water body if the appropriate response equipment is not in place, so this trailer will assist our first-responders in the event of a local crisis,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton. “The provision of these trailers is just one of MassDEP’s many continued efforts to work with cities and towns to better protect our precious natural resources and wildlife.”
“Our partner communities need to have the capability to quickly respond in the event of an emergency,” said MassDEP Commissioner Suuberg. “Now, the City of Springfield will join 76 other communities in being ready to respond to a spill.”
Each of the fresh water response trailers delivered today is 16 feet long by eight feet wide and is divided into two storage compartments containing: 800 feet of containment boom and 200 feet of absorbent boom; oil sorbent pads; speedy dry; inflatable drain bladders; anchor line and chains; buoys; tools; and safety equipment that includes life preservers, lights, boots, gloves, caution tape and a first-aid kit.
The Springfield trailer will be strategically stationed at the city’s wastewater treatment facility, but it will also be available to be used by neighboring communities.
“I’m very appreciative of Governor Baker and MassDEP’s continued efforts. This is about being proactive and prepared to deal with potential hazardous situations in an efficient, effective and compassionate manner,” said Springfield Mayor Sarno. “It’s extremely important that we continue to protect our most valued and respected top-rated water system.”
The funding to purchase and distribute the inland trailers and the equipment to protect fresh water resources is provided from the Commonwealth’s capital bond fund. The trailers cost $32,000 each to purchase, stock, outfit and deliver.
MassDEP will also provide training classes to the fire departments and first-responders of the receiving communities in the coming months. It is important that all responders are prepared to safely and efficiently use the equipment in the spill response trailers should an oil spill or other hazardous materials incident occur in their community. MassDEP will continue to develop Geographic Response Plans (GRPs), which identify locally sensitive areas to protect prior to being impacted by an oil spill.
“Local fire departments are often the first on the scene during a release of oil or hazardous material,” said State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey. “These critical resources will expand first-responders’ ability to protect both the community and the environment.”
“Ensuring our first-responders are adequately prepared to address any emergency that arises is paramount,” said State Senator Eric P. Lesser (D-Longmeadow). “The addition of this fresh water response trailer will help ensure the quick management of an oil spill in our region.”
“Accidental spills of oil and other hazardous materials pose a great risk to our community’s health and natural resources,” said State Senator James T. Welch (D-West Springfield). “This equipment will provide the city of Springfield with the ability to quickly and effectively respond to spills, allowing us to minimize their negative effects.”
“Historically, the Connecticut River has always been a source of pride for the city of Springfield as well as the entire Pioneer Valley,” said State Representative Jose F. Tosado (D-Springfield). “With the public and private investments being made in the area, it's encouraging to see that MassDEP is working closely with municipal stakeholders to take precautions that would protect our fresh water resources in the event of an emergency."
"The emergency response spill trailer is a great addition to the local community. It is important to be as prepared as possible in the event of an oil spill or leak of hazardous materials, said State Representative Michael Finn (D-West Springfield). “This equipment along with the training that MassDEP will provide will allow our first responders to be able to combat the spill in a safer and more effective way."
“Over the decades we have made tremendous improvements in the health of our rivers and streams by investing in our water infrastructure, and this increased capacity to respond to emergency spills is another critical investment,” said Andrew Fisk, executive director of the Connecticut River Watershed Council. “Healthy rivers with abundant wildlife are tremendous economic and ecological assets, so vigilance and preparedness are key to making that a reality.”
Deploying these fresh water response trailers augments the Commonwealth’s preparedness to respond to releases of oil. In response to the devastating oil spill in Buzzards Bay on April 27, 2003, the legislature enacted the Massachusetts Oil Spill Prevention and Response Act of 2004. Since 2005, MassDEP has delivered 81 spill trailers to 70 coastal communities.
MassDEP’s Marine Oil Spill Prevention and Response Program has trained more than 1,000 local responders in 42 GRP exercises, which include on-water deployment of containment boom and other equipment from the spill trailers. The exercises are also designed to field test the GRPs.
Since the program began, more than 40 of the trailers have been utilized to address oil spills in coastal communities that have included Aquinnah, Barnstable, Falmouth, Fall River, Gloucester, Nantucket, New Bedford, Newburyport and Plymouth.
For more information on MassDEP’s oil spill response trailer program, turn to: http://www.mass.gov/dep/cleanup/os/index.html
MassDEP is responsible for ensuring clean air and water, safe management and recycling of solid and hazardous wastes, timely cleanup of hazardous waste sites and spills and the preservation of wetlands and coastal resources.
(Information from MassDEP)