On 20 November 2007, at approximately 1730, the Emergency Planning and Response Branch Phone Duty Officer received a NRC report of an earlier No. 2 oil release from an underground storage tank (UST) at 6 Canal Street in Westerly RI that quickly migrated into the Pawcatuck River.
At approximately 1300, the Westerly Fire Department had responded, followed by the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM), Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (CTDEP), and the United States Coast Guard (USCG). The release occurred when Petro Fuel Corporation was delivering No. 2 heating oil to a UST of unknown capacity at 6 Canal Street.
The released occurred as a Petro Fuel delivery driver was filling the UST and the No. 2 oil began to flow out of a vent pipe over which the driver had parked his vehicle. From the vent pipe, the fuel traveled over the parking lot to a nearby storm drain, once in the storm drain, the oil traveled approximately 300ft down the drain pipe to an outfall and into the Pawcatuck River. It is estimated that approximately 60-80 gallons was released from the UST.
The fire department deployed sorbent pads around the storm drain, and sorbent boom around the outfall and in two other river locations. Petro Fuel hired two clean-up contractors to address impacts to the parking lot, storm drain, and the Pawcatuck River. On 20 November, the clean-up contractors cleaned the parking lot surface, the catch basin in the storm drain, deployed boom at one additional location on the river, skimmed oil from the river, and removed oiled debris around the outfall.
Clean-up operations were stopped overnight and scheduled to commence the next morning.
On 21 November, EPA OSC Wainberg mobilized to the scene to observe clean-up actions being conducted by the Potentially Responsible Party's (PRP's) clean-up contractor under RIDEM oversight and to offer assistance to RIDEM response personnel. The following activities occurred:
- The building owner cleaned and re-capped the vent pipe;
- The clean-up contractor skimmed oil from the river behind boomed areas including a boat ramp area where a larger quantity of the oil had migrated;
- The clean-up contractor removed oiled debris from the boat ramp area;
- The clean-up contractor deployed an additional layer of sorbent boom around the outfall;
- The fire department then flushed the impacted storm drain piping with approximately 400 gallons of water to ensure any residual fuel oil was released from the pipe;
- The clean-up contractor removed potentially impacted sand that was on the asphalt surface near the storm drain;
- The OSC issued a Notice of Federal Interest (NOFI) to both the property owner and to Petro Fuel of Providence Rhode Island;
- RIDEM indicated to the PRP that the boom should be left in place until Friday when conditions on the river would be assessed and a determination as to whether the boom could be removed would be made; and
- The OSC demobilized from the scene.
On 23 November, the OSC recieved the following information from RIDEM personnel at the scene:
- The clean-up contractor is removing the boom from the river as there is no visible sheening;
- The clean-up contractor removed some additional sand from the parking lot near the storm drain; and
- All clean up activities will be complete by the end of day.
EPA field activity is complete.
- It is unclear at this time why the overfill occurred;
- This release impacted RIDEM, CTDEP, USCG, and EPA jurisdictions; and
- The OSC issued a Notice of Federal Interest (NOFI) to both the property owner and to Petro Fuel of Providence Rhode Island.