Clean Harbors Fire in Braintree, MA

Information on MassDEP work at the Clean Harbors facility in Braintree following a fire on February 16, 2023.

MassDEP Emergency Response

On the evening of Thursday, February 16, 2023, at approximately 10:30 p.m., MassDEP emergency responders went to the Clean Harbors Braintree facility upon being notified by the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) of the fire.

After arriving on the scene, MassDEP, in coordination with the Massachusetts Hazardous Materials Emergency Response Division Team (Hazmat) performed ambient air screening as part of their response support to the Braintree Fire Department. Ambient air was analyzed for total volatile organic compounds (VOCs), as well as oxygen levels, carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulfide, and methane using field instruments. Results from this preliminary screening effort did not indicate levels in the air acutely dangerous to on-scene responders or the surrounding neighborhood.

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Air Quality Monitoring

MassDEP Air Quality program staff also reviewed air monitoring data from our monitoring station located on Monatiquot Street in Weymouth as well as data from air sensors in the area. Particulate matter 2.5 (PM2.5) concentrations measured in the surrounding area did not exceed the applicable USEPA air quality standard (35 micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m3) over a 24-hour period).

The air monitoring and sensor data did show a brief but significant increase in PM2.5, consistent with fire incidents due to smoke emitted.

In addition, as part of its routine Weymouth air monitoring, MassDEP collected a 24-hour air sample beginning just after midnight on February 17, 2023, that has been analyzed for individual volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The preliminary VOC concentrations from the sample are typical of background levels routinely measured at the Weymouth location.

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Management of Water Run-Off

MassDEP did not observe any direct discharges to the Fore River as a result of firefighting activity; first responders on the scene confirmed this finding.  According to the Immediate Response Action Completion Report that was submitted to MassDEP on April 17th, most of the fire water runoff was contained to the Clean Harbors property; however, some water may have penetrated the berm on the eastern edge of the property and pooled on the neighboring CITGO property.  That water was characterized by Clean Harbors and pumped back onto Clean Harbors property where it was pumped into large capacity tanks currently being prepared for proper disposal.

Health Consult

MassDEP is consulting with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MassDPH) regarding this matter to ensure the health concerns of first responders and citizens are addressed immediately. Residents with questions about potential health risks associated with the Clean Harbors fire are encouraged to contact the MassDEP Office of Research and Standards at (617) 645-6773 or the MassDPH Bureau of Environmental Health Assessment at (617) 624-5757.

MassDEP Response Ongoing

Since the evening of the fire on February 16, MassDEP has continued to provide an on-scene investigatory presence by performing nine inspections/site visits:

  • Thursday, February 16
  • Friday, February 17
  • Saturday, February 18
  • Tuesday, February 21
  • Wednesday, February 22
  • Friday, February 24
  • Monday, February 27
  • Wednesday, March 1
  • Wednesday, March 8

Information collected during these inspections/site visits will help identify the most effective strategies to manage immediate fire-related impacts and develop a long-term operational plan for the Clean Harbors Facility moving forward.

In addition to the actions taken above, MassDEP is also undertaking a facility evaluation of Clean Harbors to ensure compliance with its MassDEP license and the Commonwealth’s hazardous waste regulations.

Clean Harbors has informed MassDEP that they have retained Tetra Tech, Inc. with Mr. Thomas Nunno providing LSP services for the release. MassDEP has authorized Clean Harbors and their LSP to perform an Immediate Response Action (IRA) at the site. At this time, the approved IRA activities include: assessment; an evaluation of the integrity of the asphalt surfaces at the site to properly contain the firefighting water; firefighting water and product recovery; cleanup of all impacted surfaces and debris; and removal of any identified impacted soil.  On April 17th, Clean Harbors submitted an IRA Completion Statement to MassDEP.  That Completion Statement is currently under review by MassDEP.  The IRA Completion Statement can be found here: View 

On July 24, 2023, MassDEP entered into an Administrative Consent Order (ACO) with Clean Harbors. Details of the ACO can be found below:

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