Extreme weather events, which are predicted to increase due to climate change, typically contribute to spills and other releases of oil and hazardous materials to the environment. Flooding causes waste and fuel storage tanks to breach, and whenever our transportation infrastructure is impacted by extreme weather there is an increased risk of spills from trucks and trains that transport harmful materials. The Emergency Response Program at MassDEP responds to releases and threats of release of oil and hazardous materials to the environment on a 24/7 basis. The Emergency Response Program’s actions include approving, directing, and otherwise ensuring that adequate response actions are taken to contain the incident/spill, and in certain cases MassDEP will deploy its Field Assessment & Support Team (FAST) mobile response unit and/or activate a state-funded contractor for deployment anywhere in the state within 2 hours of being notified. More information on the agency’s emergency-response capabilities follows.
Wetlands Storm Preparedness & Emergency Response
- Emergency Repairs to Structures, Roads, and Facilities Located in Wetland Resource Areas or Buffer Zones, and Waterways : Guidance for homeowners and local officials on authorizing emergency work in the event of a sudden or unforeseen emergency.
- Storm Preparedness & Emergency Response Resources : Information and guidance for environmentally-safe response to natural disasters.
- Snow Disposal Guidance : MassDEP guidelines for government agencies and private businesses to use in selecting, preparing and maintaining snow disposal sites.
Drinking Water & Water Supply
- Emergency Response Planning at Public Surface Water Sources : How to plan, respond, and follow up at emergencies in your surface drinking water source. November 2006.
- Emergency Response Plan (ERP) Compliance Checklist : This checklist is to be completed by a new public water system, or an existing system that has made substantial modifications, to demonstrate that the system has an acceptable emergency response plan in place. Revised November 2013.
- Emergency Response Planning Guide for Public Drinking Water Systems : To be used in conjunction with the Handbook for Water Supply Emergencies (see below) and the Massachusetts Drinking Water Regulations, this guide includes a template for creating an Emergency Response Plan. Revised February 2010.
- Emergency Response Reporting Guidance : For use by a Public Water System when preparing an Emergency Response Report following an incident, and for MassDEP Drinking Water staff conducting a review of the Report. May 2009.
- Emergency Response Regulations : Regulatory revisions regarding emergency response. Revisions include specific requirements for emergency response plans (ERPs) and notification requirements for reporting emergencies to MassDEP and the local Board of Health. Updated March 2010.
- Emergency Response Plan Training Guidance : Public water systems are required to have in place a plan for annually training staff and local partners in emergency response procedures. This is an outline of the elements of a training program. May 2009.
- EPA’s Ground Water and Drinking Water Resource Page: http://water.epa.gov/drink/index.cfm - Major storms and other types of incidents can be highly disruptive for water systems. Learn what water consumers can do to protect their water and what utility operators can do to protect their drinking water and wastewater systems.