What Can FAST Do at a Site?

The capabilities and equipment of the Field Assessment and Support Team (FAST).


The FAST program has been developed so that MassDEP can better protect public health and the environment. Working with other response agencies and partners, FAST personnel assess air, water and soil for petroleum and chemical contaminants, and provide information, data, and recommendations to emergency responders and/or Incident Command.

FAST fills specific 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 are generally not be deployed in or even near the hot zone, but 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.

The FAST Vehicle

The "FAST Vehicle" is MassDEP's 27 foot long mobile laboratory.


What Specifically Can FAST Do?

     MassDEP's mobile laboratory is equipped to conduct many types of environmental investigations. 

    • 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.

    Key Equipment and Instrumentation

    • Colilert(r) System - E.coli & Enterococcus Bacteria
    • Colorimetric Air Testing Tubes (Drager)
    • Colorimetric Water Testing Strips
    • Dust Meter
    • Gas Chromatographs:
      • GC/MS
      • GC/PID/ELCD
      • GC/FID
    • Gas Detection Meters
    • Mercury Vapor Meter (Lumex)
    • Microscopes:
      • Stereomicroscope
      • Phase Contrast (PCM)
      • Polarized Light (PLM)
    • Mobile Map Printer
    • Photoionization Meters
    • Radiation - Gamma Monitors
    • Raman Spectrometer
    • Remote Air Monitors (AreaRAEs)
    • Spectrophotometer (Hach)
    • Weather Station

    Help Us Improve Mass.gov with your feedback