FAST Q&A

What is the Field Assessment and Support Team (FAST)?

MassDEP has assembled a team of staff chemists, biologists, engineers, and environmental scientists to provide 24/7 technical support at chemical and oil spill incidents. A number of equipment assets have also been procured to facilitate and support these deployments, including a 27 foot long mobile laboratory vehicle.

What is its Purpose?

The FAST program has been developed to enable the agency to better fulfill its statutory mandate to ensure the protection of public health and the environment. Working with other response agencies and partners, FAST personnel will assess air, water and soil for petroleum and chemical contaminants, and provide information, data, and recommendations to emergency responders and/or Incident Command.

How Will this Team Interact With Other Responders?

FAST has been specifically designed to fill needs that may exist at oil and hazardous material incidents; it is not intended to duplicate efforts of others. We seek to add value to response operations via the deployment of specialized expertise, knowledge, and equipment. Team members will generally not be deployed in or even near the hot zone, but will rather focus on downwind and/or downstream impacts. Any sampling within a hot zone will occur via coordination with personnel from District Hazmat Teams and/or other first responders.

What Specifically Can FAST Do?

  • On-scene sampling and analysis of air, water, soil, sediment, and soil gas by gas chromatography, achieving "parts per billion" detection limits;
The FAST Vehicle: MassDEP's mobile laboratory
The FAST Vehicle: MassDEP's mobile laboratory
  • On-scene modeling of air plumes via ALOHA and an on-board weather station;
  • On-scene production of large orthographic, topographic, and environmental resource maps;
  • On-scene analysis of air and bulk samples for asbestos content;
  • On-scene installation, sampling, and analysis of soil gas and groundwater monitoring wells;
  • On-scene analysis of water samples for bacteria and other pollutants;
  • Ambient air monitoring using AreaRAEs, VRAEs, PIDs, Draeger Tubes, and dust meters;
  • Analysis of ambient and indoor air for mercury vapor via Jerome and Lumex meters;
  • Analysis of unknown materials via an Ahura First Defender and Niton XRF unit; and
  • On-scene interpretation of environmental data, with respect to health and environmental concerns and trigger levels.

How Can a FAST Deployment be Requested?

Please coordinate with regional/on-scene MassDEP emergency response personnel, and/or contact the agency 24/7 at 888-304-1133. Please note that depending upon the location and traffic conditions, it can take between 1 and 4 hours for FAST personnel and equipment to arrive at a site.

Key Equipment and Instrumentation

  • Colilert(r) System - E.coli & Enterococcus Bacteria
  • Colorimetric Air Testing Tubes (Drager)
  • Colorimetric Water Testing Strips
  • Dust Meter
  • Gas Chromatographs:
    • GC/MS
    • GC/PID/ELCD
    • GC/PID/FID/ELCD
    • GC/FID
  • Gas Detection Meters
  • Mercury Vapor Meter (Lumex)
  • Microscopes:
    • Stereomicroscope
    • Phase Contrast (PCM)
    • Polarized Light (PLM)
  • Mobile Map Printer
  • Photoionization Meters
  • Radiation - Gamma Monitors
  • Raman Spectrometer
  • Remote Air Monitors (AreaRAEs)
  • Spectrophotometer (Hach)
  • Weather Station

Deployments

Fall River - January 2014 - Gasoline Tanker Accident pdf format of    Fall River Route 24 Off-Ramp Gasoline Tanker Accident

Arlington - May 2013 - Diesel Spill into Mystic River pdf format of    Arlington Diesel Fuel Spill into Mystic River  file size 1MB

Woburn and Boston - July 2012 - Overturned Tanker, Steam Pipe Explosion

Seekonk - May 2012 - Mill Fire pdf format of    Seekonk Abandoned Mill Fire  file size 1MB

Boston - March 2012 - Transformer Fire pdf format of    Boston NSTAR Transformer Fire Scotia Street  file size 1MB doc format of Boston NSTAR Transformer Fire Scotia Street file size 1MB

Saugus - October 2011 - Fumes in School pdf format of    Saugus Veteran's Memorial School Odor Issue

Middleton - May 2011 - Explosion at Bostik Manufacturing

Malden - March 2011 - Mercury Spill in School pdf format of    Malden High School Mercury Spill Incident  doc format of Malden High School Mercury Spill Incident

Lawrence - November 2010 - Unknown Leaking Gas pdf format of    Lawrence Unknown Chemical Cloud Incident  doc format of Lawrence Unknown Chemical Cloud Incident

Peabody - October 2010 - Mercury Spill in School pdf format of    Peabody High School Mercury Spill Incident  doc format of Peabody High School Mercury Spill Incident

Blandford - July 2010 - Acid Spill pdf format of    Blandford Acid Spill Incident  doc format of Blandford Acid Spill Incident

Foxboro - June 2010, Jet Fuel Tanker Rollover, Route 95 pdf format of    FAST Team Report: Foxboro Jet Fuel Tanker Spill  doc format of FAST Team Report: Foxboro Jet Fuel Tanker Spill

New Bedford - August 2009, New Bedford Waste Services Incident pdf format of    FAST Team Report:  New Bedford Waste Services  doc format of FAST Team Report:  New Bedford Waste Services

New Bedford - June 2010, Clam Contamination Incident pdf format of    FAST Team Report:  New Bedford Clam Contamination  file size 2MB doc format of FAST Team Report:  New Bedford Clam Contamination file size 3MB

Newburyport - July 2009, Gasoline Tanker Rollover, Route 95 pdf format of    FAST Team Report:  Newburyport Gasoline Tanker Rollover  doc format of FAST Team Report:  Newburyport Gasoline Tanker Rollover

Westport - August 2009, Carbon Monoxide Incident pdf format of    FAST Team Report:  81 Robert Street Westport  doc format of FAST Team Report:  81 Robert Street Westport

FAST Field Screening Capabilities

ParameterEquipmentDetection Limits/Ranges
Total Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) in airPhotoionization Detectors (PIDs)1 ppmV (AreaRAE and Sirius units) and 10 - 50 ppbV (PID Analyzer)
Individual VOCs and Hydrocarbons (all media)
 
GC/ELCD/PID
GC/FID
 
5 - 50 ppbV in air or soil gas; 1-5 ug/L in water; mg/kg range in soil/ sediments
Explosive Gases (air)
 
Various LEL meters & AreaRAEs1-100% of Lower Explosive Limit (LEL)
 V-RAE1-100% of explosive gases
Ammonia (air)V-RAE #21 ppmV
 Various PIDs/AreaRAEs10 ppmV
 
Ammonia (water)Hach Kit0.4 - 50 mg/L
Asbestos (solids and air)Phase Contrast Microscope (PCM)0.01 fibers/cc in air samples
 Polarized Light Microscope (PLM)5 - 10% in bulk samples
Carbon Monoxide (air)M40 Meters1 ppmV
Coliform/E. coli (water)Colilert System1 organism/100 mL
Chlorine (air)V-RAE #1; AreaRAEs0.1 ppmV
Chlorine (water)Hach Kit0.02 - 2 mg/L
Chromium +6 (water)Hach Kit0.01 - 0.7 mg/L
Copper (water)Hach Kit0.04 - 5 mg/L
Dust (air)Thermo MIE pDR-15001-400,000 ug/m3
Enterococci (water)Enterolert System1 organism/100 mL
Hydrogen Chloride (air)PID Analyzer1 ppmV
Hydrocyanic acid (air)Draeger Tubes10 ppmV
Hydrogen Cyanide (air)V-RAE #21 ppmV
Hydrogen Fluoride (air)Draeger Tubes0.5 ppmV
Hydrogen Sulfide (air)V-RAE #1; M40 meters; AreaRAEs1 ppmV
Mercury Vapor (air)Lumex Meter2 ng/m3
 Jerome Meter3000 ng/m3
Metals (soil)Niton XRF meter100 - 900 mg/kg, depending on metal
Methane (soil gas/air)GC/FID1 ppmV
Nitrates (water)Hach Kit0.2 - 30 mg/L
Nitric Acid (air)Draeger Tubes1 ppmV
Nitrogen, Total (water)Hach Kit0.5 - 25 mg/L
Nitrous gases (air)Draeger Tubes5 ppmV (as NO2)
Orthophosphate (water)Hach Kit0.06 - 5 mg/L (as PO4)
Oxygen (air)M-40 meters0.1 -30%
Phosgene (air)Draeger Tubes0.5 ppmV
Phosphine (air)Draeger Tubes0.3 ppmV
Phosphorus, total (water)Hach Kit0.06 - 3.5 mg/L (as PO4)
Radiation, gammaCanberra UltraRadiac1 uR/hr
Styrene (air)Draeger Tubes10 ppmV
Sulfur dioxide (air)Draeger Tubes10 ppmV
Unknowns (liquids/solids)First DefenderPercent ranges

 

MassDEP FAST Vehicle Photostream