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;
- 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:
- Gas Detection Meters
- Mercury Vapor Meter (Lumex)
- Phase Contrast (PCM)
- Polarized Light (PLM)
- Mobile Map Printer
- Photoionization Meters
- Radiation - Gamma Monitors
- Raman Spectrometer
- Remote Air Monitors (AreaRAEs)
- Spectrophotometer (Hach)
- Weather Station
Arlington - May 2013 - Diesel Spill into Mystic River file size 1MB
Seekonk - May 2012 - Mill Fire file size 1MB
Boston - March 2012 - Transformer Fire file size 1MB file size 1MB
New Bedford - June 2010, Clam Contamination Incident file size 2MB file size 3MB
FAST Field Screening Capabilities
|Total Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) in air||Photoionization Detectors (PIDs)||1 ppmV (AreaRAE and Sirius units) and 10 - 50 ppbV (PID Analyzer)|
|Individual VOCs and Hydrocarbons (all media)||GC/ELCD/PID|
|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 & AreaRAEs||1-100% of Lower Explosive Limit (LEL)|
|V-RAE||1-100% of explosive gases|
|Ammonia (air)||V-RAE #2||1 ppmV|
|Various PIDs/AreaRAEs||10 ppmV|
|Ammonia (water)||Hach Kit||0.4 - 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 Meters||1 ppmV|
|Coliform/E. coli (water)||Colilert System||1 organism/100 mL|
|Chlorine (air)||V-RAE #1; AreaRAEs||0.1 ppmV|
|Chlorine (water)||Hach Kit||0.02 - 2 mg/L|
|Chromium +6 (water)||Hach Kit||0.01 - 0.7 mg/L|
|Copper (water)||Hach Kit||0.04 - 5 mg/L|
|Dust (air)||Thermo MIE pDR-1500||1-400,000 ug/m3|
|Enterococci (water)||Enterolert System||1 organism/100 mL|
|Hydrogen Chloride (air)||PID Analyzer||1 ppmV|
|Hydrocyanic acid (air)||Draeger Tubes||10 ppmV|
|Hydrogen Cyanide (air)||V-RAE #2||1 ppmV|
|Hydrogen Fluoride (air)||Draeger Tubes||0.5 ppmV|
|Hydrogen Sulfide (air)||V-RAE #1; M40 meters; AreaRAEs||1 ppmV|
|Mercury Vapor (air)||Lumex Meter||2 ng/m3|
|Jerome Meter||3000 ng/m3|
|Metals (soil)||Niton XRF meter||100 - 900 mg/kg, depending on metal|
|Methane (soil gas/air)||GC/FID||1 ppmV|
|Nitrates (water)||Hach Kit||0.2 - 30 mg/L|
|Nitric Acid (air)||Draeger Tubes||1 ppmV|
|Nitrogen, Total (water)||Hach Kit||0.5 - 25 mg/L|
|Nitrous gases (air)||Draeger Tubes||5 ppmV (as NO2)|
|Orthophosphate (water)||Hach Kit||0.06 - 5 mg/L (as PO4)|
|Oxygen (air)||M-40 meters||0.1 -30%|
|Phosgene (air)||Draeger Tubes||0.5 ppmV|
|Phosphine (air)||Draeger Tubes||0.3 ppmV|
|Phosphorus, total (water)||Hach Kit||0.06 - 3.5 mg/L (as PO4)|
|Radiation, gamma||Canberra UltraRadiac||1 uR/hr|
|Styrene (air)||Draeger Tubes||10 ppmV|
|Sulfur dioxide (air)||Draeger Tubes||10 ppmV|
|Unknowns (liquids/solids)||First Defender||Percent ranges|