Baker-Polito Administration Delivers Emergency Response Trailers for Protection of Inland Waterways and Wetlands
MassDEP Program Provides Six Communities with Equipment to Enhance Oil Spill Response
BOSTON - The Baker-Polito Administration today delivered new emergency spill response trailers to six inland communities to assist them in the event of spills of oil or other hazardous materials that may pose a risk to freshwater resources. The trailers contain crucial spill response equipment, such as containment boom, absorbent pads and buoys.
"These trailers offer communities emergency equipment essential to mitigating an oil spill during the first few hours of an incident," said Governor Charlie Baker. "This effort provides added assurance local communities will have tools to be ready to protect our rivers, lakes and wetlands."
"Environmental protection is a collaborative effort," said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. "With the strategic placement of these response trailers, we are creating a strong, collaborative team with local fire departments and first-responders that will help to preserve our natural resources."
At a ceremony held today in Worcester, Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) Commissioner Martin Suuberg presented the trailers to officials from the communities of Brockton, Fitchburg, Lowell, Marlborough, Milford and Sturbridge.
"An oil spill could quickly inundate a water body if the appropriate response equipment is not in place, so these trailers will assist our first-responders in the event of a local crisis," said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton. "The provision of these trailers is just one of MassDEP's many continued efforts to work with cities and towns to better protect our precious natural resources and wildlife."
"Our partner communities need to have the capability to quickly respond in the event of an emergency," said MassDEP Commissioner Suuberg. "Now, these six communities will join 70 of their coastal community colleagues in being ready to respond to a spill.
Each of the fresh water response trailers delivered today is 16 feet long by eight feet wide and is divided into two storage compartments containing: 800 feet of containment boom and 200 feet of absorbent boom; oil sorbent pads; speedy dry; inflatable drain bladders; anchor line and chains; buoys; tools; and safety equipment that includes life preservers, lights, boots, gloves, caution tape and a first-aid kit.
The funding to purchase and distribute the inland trailers and the equipment to protect fresh water resources is provided from the Commonwealth's capital bond fund. The trailers cost $32,000 each to purchase, stock, outfit and deliver.
MassDEP will also provide training classes to the fire departments and first-responders of the receiving communities in the coming months. It is important that all responders are prepared to safely and efficiently use the equipment in the spill response trailers should an oil spill or other hazardous materials incident occur in their community. MassDEP will continue to develop Geographic Response Plans (GRPs), which identify locally sensitive areas to protect prior to being impacted by an oil spill.
"Local fire departments are often the first on the scene during a release of oil or hazardous material," said State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey. "These critical resources will expand first-responders' ability to protect both the community and the environment."
"A quick response to oil spills is important to protecting natural resources from contamination," said State Senator Anne Gobi (D-Spencer), Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture. "These strategically placed trailers will play an important role in assuring an acute accident doesn't turn into an ongoing pollution issue."
"We are pleased to host a spill response trailer in Marlborough," said Marlborough Mayor Arthur G. Vigeant. "This program will provide additional tools and supplies for the Marlborough Fire Department and first-responders in the event of a spill. As a community that has had a recent spill, we have first-hand knowledge of the need for the trailers and appreciate MassDEP's partnership on this important initiative."
Deploying these fresh water response trailers augments the Commonwealth's preparedness to respond to releases of oil. In response to the devastating oil spill in Buzzards Bay on April 27, 2003, the legislature enacted the Massachusetts Oil Spill Prevention and Response Act of 2004. Since 2005, MassDEP has delivered 81 spill trailers to 70 coastal communities.
MassDEP's Marine Oil Spill Prevention and Response Program has trained more than 1,000 local responders in 42 GRP exercises, which include on-water deployment of containment boom and other equipment from the spill trailers. The exercises are also designed to field test the GRPs.
Since the program began, more than 40 of the trailers have been utilized to address oil spills in coastal communities that have included Aquinnah, Barnstable, Falmouth, Fall River, Gloucester, Nantucket, New Bedford, Newburyport and Plymouth.
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.
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