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Waste Site Cleanup & Reuse in New England

South Boston Unknown Chemical Spill

A hazardous materials release at a warehouse in South Boston was reported to EPA the morning of Aug. 18, 2009. A Boston street sweeper had noticed the day before what appeared to be illegal dumping of construction debris at an area under U.S. Coast Guard jurisdiction. A team from Boston Inspectional Services and the Boston Fire Department went to document the dumping and complained of skin irritation, burning eyes and difficulties breathing immediately after leaving the building. The fire department's Hazmat Unit immediately decontaminated these team members, who were then taken to a nearby hospital. The Boston Fire Department identified a leaking drum that appeared to have a waste oil mixture. Extreme heat in the sealed building caused the drums to let off volatile organic compounds (VOCs), fire department officials said. The building doors and windows were opened, which cleared the air. EPA monitored the air in the neighborhood and in the warehouse to ensure no problems. The Coast Guard and DEP found, in addition to the one drum of waste oil, an additional flammable container. EPA found no elevated readings for VOCs in the neighborhood. Mass. DEP remained on site to oversee cleanup operations done by the building's owner. DEP identified the owner and took enforcement action.

Location: 354 West 2nd St., Boston, MA
Start date: 08/18/2009
End date: 08/18/2009
Contact: Claudia Deane (deane.claudia@epa.gov)

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