For Immediate Release - May 10, 2013

Boston Property Owner Penalized $25,000 for Failing to Report Spill

BOSTON - The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) penalized HHLP Bulfinch Associates, LLC, the owners of 107 Merrimac Street in Boston, $25,000 for failing to report a 275-gallon release of diesel fuel on September 21, 2012.   

"A spill of this magnitude requires an immediate response from a responsible party, and also requires a legal responsibility to immediately notify environmental officials," said Eric Worrall, director of MassDEP's Northeast Regional Office in Wilmington.  "The failure to report this spill in a timely manner could have imperiled public safety and complicated the cleanup process." 

On September 27, 2012, MassDEP received a telephone report from an environmental cleanup contractor on behalf of the building owner that a release estimated to be 260 gallons of diesel fuel had occurred six days earlier during the transfer of oil from a basement tank to a rooftop generator when a pump had failed to cycle off. The oil had reportedly been released to the roof top, and had subsequently flowed into the rooftop drainage system, which discharged ultimately to the municipal storm sewer system. The caller stated that his company had been asked to provide a cost estimate to clean up the release, and upon seeing the evidence of spilled oil, had reported the release to MassDEP.

MassDEP, at that time, along with the City of Boston officials, had already been actively investigating a reported release of oil from an unknown source to the municipal storm sewer system in the vicinity of this location. The joint investigation had begun on September 25, 2012, following the reports of fuel odors in a federal office building nearby.

MassDEP would subsequently learn that the property's lead engineer had observed on September 21, 2012 an oil release, and called a pump repair contractor on that same day to make necessary repairs.  MassDEP obtained a copy of a report from cleanup contractor, dated September 21, 2012, that the entire 275 gallons of fuel within the basement tank had been discharged to the roof of the building.

That inspection report was signed by both the pump repair company's technician and owner's lead engineer. Ultimately, the oil in the storm drain was determined to have resulted from the fuel release at 107 Merrimac.

HHLP Bulfinch Associates, LLC, has agreed to pay $20,000 of the penalty and MassDEP has agreed to suspend the remaining $5,000 provided there are no additional violations over the next year.  In addition, the company must develop and implement an oil and hazardous material reporting plan to train its employees.

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.