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Patrick-Murray Administration Delivers Oil Spill Emergency Response Trailers for Protection of Boston Harbor

MassDEP Program Provides Equipment to City of Boston to Enhance Oil Spill Response

BOSTON – The Patrick-Murray Administration today presented to the City of Boston the first of six emergency spill response equipment trailers, which can be deployed immediately to protect Boston Harbor and the city’s waterfront in the event of a spill of oil or other hazardous material.

Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) Commissioner Kenneth Kimmell presented the first trailer to officials from the Boston environmental and fire departments during a ceremony held along the waterfront in Charlestown. The trailers contain state-of-the-art equipment, such as containment and absorbent boom, and they will be located in Charlestown, East Boston, South Boston and Brighton until needed.

“The city will receive trailers stocked with emergency equipment that is essential in mitigating an oil spill’s impact during the spill’s first few hours,” said Commissioner Kimmell. “While our priority will always be to protect natural resources from environmental damage, we also need our partner communities to have the capability to respond in the event of an emergency. Now, Boston will be ready, just in case.”

Deploying these trailers was a key part of the Oil Spill Prevention and Response Act of 2004, legislation which was crafted in response to the massive oil spill of April 27, 2003. Approximately 98,000 gallons of industrial fuel oil spilled into Buzzards Bay after a tank barge struck a rocky outcropping, polluting nearly 100 miles of coastline, leaving 178,000 acres of shellfish beds closed for months during the cleanup, and killing more than 450 shore birds.

Since 2005, MassDEP has delivered 82 response trailers to 69 Massachusetts coastal communities. The trailers cost $32,000 each to purchase, stock, outfit and deliver.

“These emergency spill response trailers provide the city valuable, added assurance when it comes to the protection of our harbor and waterfront,” said Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino. “I’m pleased to be collaborating with the Patrick-Murray Administration on this program as Boston continues to raise the bar as a national sustainability leader.”

Approximately 40 of the trailers have been utilized to address oil spills in communities that have included New Bedford, Newburyport, Nantucket, Gloucester, Fall River, Barnstable, Falmouth, Aquinnah and Plymouth.

“I applaud MassDEP Commissioner Kimmell's commitment to public safety in Boston and throughout the Commonwealth,” said Senator Salvatore DiDomenico. “In our densely populated neighborhoods, equipping our first responders with the proper tools to contain an oil spill or other hazardous material is a must; especially where Boston is an active energy distribution point for much of the Northeast.”

“I commend the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection for selecting Charlestown as a recipient of an oil spill response trailer,” said Representative Eugene O’Flaherty. “Charlestown is a densely populated community with heavily traveled truck routes surrounding its borders. An oil spill could quickly turn tragic if the appropriate response supplies are not in place and this trailer will assist our first-responders in the event of a crisis. It is a resource I am relieved to see, but hope we never have to use.” 

“The delivery of oil spill response trailers is imperative in maintaining safe neighborhoods and a safe city,” said Boston City Councilor Sal LaMattina. “It also better equips our city’s emergency first-responders in the event of an oil spill or hazmat catastrophe.”

“This oil spill emergency response trailer is just another example of the wonderful cooperation we enjoy across our federal, state, local, and industry partners here in Boston,” said U.S. Coast Guard Captain John C. O’Connor III, Commander of Sector Boston. “Environmental protection is a team effort and we have a strong collaborative team here in the port of Boston.”

Each trailer is 16 feet long by eight feet wide and is divided into two storage compartments containing: varying sizes and types of containment and absorbent boom; oil sorbent pads; speedy dry; inflatable bladders; anchors and anchor chains; buoys; tools like a hammer and spade; safety/personal safety equipment, such as lights, caution tape, first-aid kit and boots; and ropes, ties, cables and a padlock.

The funding to purchase and distribute these trailers and the equipment is provided from the Oil Spill Act Trust Fund, which has as its source a 5-cent-per-barrel fee on petroleum products shipped through state waterways to local ports.

MassDEP also provides training and regional oil spill response plans (called “Geographic Response Plans) to local fire departments and first-responders so that they will be prepared should an oil spill occur in their community. As part of today’s presentation, MassDEP will provide training classes to Boston first-responders in the coming months.

For more information on MassDEP’s oil spill response trailer program, turn to:

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.


Commonwealth of Massachusetts • Deval Patrick, Governor • Tim Murray, Lieutenant Governor
Executive Office of Energy & Environmental Affairs • Richard K. Sullivan Jr., Secretary
Department of Environmental Protection • Kenneth L. Kimmell, Commissioner
One Winter Street • Boston 02108 • (617) 292-5500 •


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