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EPA, Coast Guard and Mass DEP Respond to Fuel Spill in Newburyport, Mass.

Release Date: 07/06/2009
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

(Boston, Mass. – July 6, 2009) – Federal and State responders are on the scene of a large fuel spill in Newburyport, Mass., assisting with efforts to limit and address contamination of soil and water resources near the spill.

This morning a truck carrying approximately 10,000 gallons of gasoline overturned and ruptured on Interstate 95, near Newburyport. The truck suffered structural damage, resulting in approximately 8,000-9,000 gallons of gasoline being released into the environment.

The incident is approximately one-half mile south of the Merrimack River. EPA is currently the lead federal response agency. EPA personnel are working along with representatives of the U.S. Coast Guard, the Massachusetts Dept. of Environmental Protection and numerous local response agencies.

The Merrimack River has been impacted by the spill. Gasoline flowed from the scene into the storm drains and into the Merrimack River. The storm drains contain heavy gasoline vapors. The Town of Newburyport has shut down one private drinking water well and a small sewage lift station. EPA currently is performing air monitoring near the site.

EPA has deployed two (2) On Scene Coordinators (OSCs) and contractor personnel, who have integrated into the incident command. EPA has deployed “Area Raes” to monitor for volatile organics in a nearby neighborhood where 12 homes have been evacuated. EPA is also deploying additional clean up contractors to assist with containment of fuel on the river and eventual clean up of the Merrimack River and impacted coastal areas.

Mass DEP is deploying boats and boom material to contain the spilled gasoline. Some boom materials are already in the river and more are being deployed. In addition, MassDEP also deployed its Field Assessment and Support Team (FAST) vehicle to monitor air conditions and assessment activities. The Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries will also conduct assessment of any impacts to shellfish resources.

USCG currently has several responders on-scene working with the responsible party's contractor to boom off the spill area. High tide was at 12:06 p.m. Low tide will be at 6:32 p.m.

The tanker currently has been uprighted and remaining gasoline is being pumped out of the damaged vehicle.

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Contacts: U.S. EPA - David Deegan (617) 918-1017
Mass DEP – Joe Ferson (617) 654-6523
U.S. Coast Guard – Lt. Stephen West (617) 799-0197

Note - PR edited on 7/07/2009 to correct two typographical errors