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6 Things to Know About Monday’s Oil Spill

The spill occurred near Somerville, at Erickson Fuel Company, 600 Boston Ave., Medford.

Erickson Fuel Company, 600 Boston Ave., Medford. Photo credit: John Waller
Erickson Fuel Company, 600 Boston Ave., Medford. Photo credit: John Waller

By John Waller

Here's an update about an oil spill that occurred Monday at a Medford fuel company near Somerville's Powderhouse Square.

The following information comes from a Tuesday letter from the City of Medford’s Office of Energy and Environment to the Mystic River Watershed Association. The association posted the letter on its website Thursday.

1.) THE BASICS: A tanker truck parked at Erickson Fuel Company, 600 Boston Ave., Medford, spilled 1,449 gallons of diesel fuel winter blend Sunday into Monday, Jan. 6. Diesel fuel winter blend is cut with Kerosene to keep the fuel liquid enough to pump.

2.) HOW DID IT HAPPEN?: It’s believed that a flange at the bottom of the truck’s tank froze before Sunday and then thawed out Sunday, causing the release of fuel.

3.) RESPONSE: The spilled fuel impacted Erickson’s truck yard and the city’s storm drainage system, which connects to the Mystic River. The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), the Medford Fire Department, Department of Public Works and Office of Energy and Environment all responded to the scene, as well as a MassDEP “spill trailer” from the Chelsea Fire Department. Erickson also hired Ambrose Environmental and ENPRO Services for the cleanup.

4.) DAMAGE: Fuel flowed through the storm drains toward the Mystic River, which was frozen all the way to the Amelia Earhart dam. Dam personnel have not reported any odors at the dam, which is a good sign, according to the city. Pumping at the dam was ceased and will not resume until the all-clear is given by ENPRO. MassDEP believes that most of the fuel stayed in the city’s drainage system and can be collected through ENPRO’s efforts, which includes three vacuum trucks. Saint Clement School, which is across Boston Avenue from Erickson, was not affected in any way by the spill, according to the city.

5.) CLEAN-UP EFFORTS: ENPRO’s cleanup efforts, which are being monitored by MassDEP and the city, were delayed somewhat by this week’s cold weather. The cleanup, including flushing of the storm-water lines, was expected to last at least through this weekend.

6.) COST: Erickson has accepted full responsibility for the spill and are paying directly for ENPRO’s services and all disposable products used, according to the city. MassDEP Emergency Services are part of the Department of Environmental Protection’s operating budget.

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