Carrier penalized for 9,600-gallon 2013 oil spill in Mystic

Tanker at parkwat rotary new Medford shows neutalized fuel on the road in Arlington police photo.Righted tanker at parkway rotary near Medford with foam covering fuel on the road in 2013 Arlington police photo.

The state Department of Environmental Protection has reached two settlements, totaling $55,100 and $7,187, respectively, with J.P. Noonan Transportation Inc. of West Bridgewater in connection with damage and Clean Water Act violations after a 9,600-gallon home-heating oil spill into the Mystic River on May 31, 2013.

The spill occurred on Route 60 in Arlington when an oil tanker truck crashed while going around a rotary on the Mystic Valley Parkway. As a result of the crash, the 10,000-gallon compartment of the tanker was breached, dumping nearly all of its contents onto the roadway, which then flowed into storm drains and subsequently into the nearby Mystic River, a state news release said.

Emergency response crews from Arlington, Medford, other nearby towns, MassDEP and a private contractor hired by Noonan were able to contain and clean up nearly all of the oil that spilled in the following days and weeks.

"The recovery of the Mystic River and its continued protection will not be set back by this unfortunate incident," said MassDEP Commissioner David Cash. "The NRD Trust will use the settlement to directly assist in repairing the damage done to natural resources there, and the funds will help MassDEP continue our important work protecting the environment from a host of hazardous materials."

Mystic River Watershed Association Executive Director EkOngKar Singh Khalsa said in the release Friday, Nov. 14:

"We are very happy that MassDEP has successfully pursued Natural Resource Damages in response to this spill. Support for the restoration of the Mystic River provided through this settlement is an important component of strong state and local response to the accident. MassDEP emergency response and local fire and DPW personnel also deserve much credit for fast action that prevented more catastrophic impacts from this oil release."

The association is based in Arlington.

In April 2014, J.P. Noonan submitted documentation stating that all necessary remediation responses had been completed and a permanent cleanup had been achieved along the river in the Arlington and Medford areas. The cost of that cleanup was borne by J.P. Noonan as the responsible party and its insurance company.

The $55,100 settlement for NRD damages will be deposited in to the NRD Trust, which is administered by MassDEP, and will eventually fund projects that will restore natural resources that were damaged by the oil spilled into the Mystic River. The restoration projects are expected to improve water quality within the river in the area of the spill. The $7,187 penalty is to resolve the Clean Water Act violations that occurred as a result of the spill.

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.

Police Chief Fred Ryan said in May 2013 that the tanker was coming on to Route 60 from Medford into Arlington when it failed to succesffully make the turn in the rotary and flipped.

As a precaution, several homes in the immediate area were evacuated until the contents of the truck could be identified and the scene secured.


Aftermath: InsideMedford photos >>


Spill fuel fouls Mystic River at Arliongton and West Medford in Matthew Haberstroh photo.Spilled fuel fouls Mystic River at Arlington and West Medford in Matthew Haberstroh photo via Web partner InsideMedford.com.

The fuel was leaking, and the fire department and hazardous-materials teams were setting up booms to contain the spill.

The Mystic Valley Parkway and Medford Street were closed at 4:30 p.m. Friday, May 31, 2013.

The town announced that as of 9 a.m. the next day all roadways affected by the fuel spill have been reopened to traffic.

Throughout the night and early morning, crews worked to replace the sections of the road that were heavily affacted while continuing cleanup operations on the river and surrounding areas.

While roadways have been reopened, cleanup efforts will continue throughout the weekend. 

At the scene Friday, the Arlington Fire Department reported that the tanker was carrying No. 2 fuel believed to be diesel. Paperwork from the vehicle indicated that the tanker may have been carrying up to 10,000 gallons. Deputy Fire Chief James Bailey Jr. confirmed that report.

Boston.com reported the driver, a 65-year-old Framingham man, is listed in serious condition at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. 

As of 9 p.m. Friday, the tractor-trailer had been removed from the scene, and crews were working to grind down and repave the road, said Captain Richard Flynn of the Arlington Police Department.

Members of the Arlington Fire/Rescue stabilized the operator on scene before transporting him to Beth Israel with nonlife-threatening injuries.


This story was published Friday, Nov. 14, 2014.