Report a Spill of Oil or Hazardous Materials
The BWSC Emergency Response (ER) Program responds to releases and threats of release of oil and hazardous materials to the environment on a 24/7 basis to protect public health, safety and the environment. The ER Program's actions include approving, directing, and otherwise ensuring adequate response action are taken to contain and mitigate the incident/spill. When site specific conditions warrant, an ER responder can and will activate a state-funded contractor, for deployment anywhere in the state within 2 hours of being notified.
Emergency operations include responses to releases of oil and hazardous material from roadway incidents, industrial processes, chemical fires, above ground and underground storage tanks, utility lines, navigable waterways, environmentally sensitive areas, and even some homes. There are about 900 spills and other potential emergency situations reported to MassDEP each year. In an average week, BWSC/ER will respond in the field to 15 - 20 such reports, including 4-5 events occurring during non-business hours. During large scale complex response incidents, the ER Program will coordinate the integration of the MassDEP Field Assessment and Support Team (FAST) into the events Incident Command. The ER program ensures a timely and incident-appropriate level of MassDEP response through a hierarchy of notification and response action, and interagency protocols.
First Responder Guidance
Hazardous Waste Transporters Who Provide Emergency Response Services
MassDEP maintains a list of companies licensed as hazardous waste transporters who provide emergency response services. The list is intended to assist parties responsible for releases of oil and/or hazardous materials which pose an Imminent Hazard or Public Safety Threat, or for other situations that require the immediate retention of an emergency response contractor. The list is compiled from MassDEP's database of Hazardous Waste Transporters and Generators and will be updated as needed and at least annually. The inclusion of a company's name on this list does not constitute an endorsement of that company by MassDEP. MassDEP does not recommend nor endorse any particular company.
List of Companies licensed as Hazardous Waste (HW) Transporters who provide Emergency Response Services (March 2016):
InterAgency Response Protocols and Plans
Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency - The Massachusetts Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan (CEMP) establishes the framework for the effective and comprehensive integration and coordination of the emergency response and recovery actions of all levels of government, volunteer organizations, and the private sector.
Massachusetts Department of Transportation - The Unified Response Manual (URM) for Roadway Traffic Incidents was developed by the MassHighway Incident Management Task Force with representatives from the State Police, the Turnpike Authority, MassPort Authority, Federal Highway Administration, MassDEP, MEMA, DPH, Fire Chiefs' Association of Massachusetts, and the Statewide Towers Association. The URM establishes a comprehensive statewide traffic management plan to be used during all roadway incidents and requires the use of the Incident Command System for all minor or major events. Terminology, procedures, roles, duties and responsibilities are clarified and standardized to improve coordination, communications and interagency cooperation during multi-jurisdictional incidents.
US Regional Response Team Region 1 - MassDEP's ER program actively participates in the US EPA/USCG Regional Response Team (RRT). The RRT is the federal component of the National Response System for the states of Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut. RRT 1 includes sixteen federal agencies, nine federally recognized tribes, and six New England states. Regional Response Teams (RRT) in each federal region are required to develop a Regional Contingency Plan to coordinate effective response to oil spills and hazardous substance releases into the environment of the United States within the six New England states that make up Region I. MassDEP participates in the development of the Regional Contingency Plan in cooperation with the designated RRT 1 representatives.
United States Coast Guard - MassDEP's ER program and MassDEP's, Oil Spill Prevention and Response program, and the United States Guard (USCG) coordinate responses actions and response plans for oils spills to the marine environment. Historic oil release to the marine environment in Massachusetts include the 1976 Argo Merchant tanker oil spill, Bouchard 65 barge 1977, T/V Northern Sun 1989, Florida fuel barge 1996, T/V Posavina 2000, and Bouchard 120 barge 2003. Photographs of some of these incidents can be found in the MassDEP Cleanup of Sites & Spills Photostream site.
The USCG has two Sectors in Massachusetts for Coast Guard operations. Sector Boston is responsible for USCG activities from the town of Plymouth to Salisbury. Sector Southern New England is responsible for activities in the remaining coastal communities, include the Cape and Islands. Under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA 90) the USCG is required to form Area Committees and the development of Area Contingency Plans to prepare and plan for oil spill response. MassDEP participates in both Sectors' Area Committees.
The MA Area Committees are comprised of representatives from federal, state, and local agencies and natural resource trustees that coordinate response actions. The Area Committee, under the coordinated direction of the Federal On-Scene Coordinator (FOSC) and State On-Scene Coordinator (SOSC), is responsible for developing and updating an Area Contingency Plan (ACP).
- US Coast Guard Area Contingency Plan
Department of Fish and Game - The Massachusetts' Department of Fisheries, Wildlife, and Environmental Law Enforcement, Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (DFW), Department of Food and Agriculture, and Department of Environmental Protection entered into a Memorandum of Understanding for significant sudden fish mortality ("fish kills") in 1990. The MOU outlines the authority of each agency, assigned DFW as the lead agency, delineated agency roles and responsibilities, and established a Fish Kill Committee that meets annually.