On 28 March 2008 (0938 AM) a fuel tanker truck (MC306) was involved in an accident on I-91 Northbound at the eastern end of the bridge crossing the Connecticut River in Chicopee, Massachusetts. The fuel tanker, in an effort to stop quickly, lost control and the trailer portion of the fuel tanker rolled over the guard rail, caught fire and came to rest on its base along the hillside approximately 80 feet beneath the Interstate. The tanker contained 9,500 gallons of gasoline and 1,000 gallons of diesel fuel.
Much of the 10,500 gallons of fuel was consumed during the fire that burned for over an hour after the incident. A large volume of the remaining fuel either spilled and soaked into the adajacent soils of the hillside or remained in the tanker. Some of the released fuel reached Center Street (running perpendicular and located under the I-91 Bridge). An unknown volume of fuel entered the storm drains leading to the Connecticut River prior to first responder actions to block the storm drains. Environmental response contractors (Clean Harbors), directed by Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MASS DEP) and later hired by the Responsible Party employed oil containment and recovery boom in the Connecticut River to capture fuel released to the water. EPA does not have a good estimate of exactly how much fuel reached the Connecticut River during the early stages of the response. Only a rainbow sheen of oil was visible along the east bank of the Connecticut River during the final hours of the first day.
During the initial reponse, EPA START contractors conducted air monitoring of storm drains/saturated soils and collected water samples from the Connecticut River. START shipped the samples to EPA's New England Regional Laboratory for analysis. Analytical results confirmed the presence of low level volatile organic compounds in the Connecticut River.
The Massachusetts DEP is providing direction and supervision to the responsible party regarding the soil remediation near the incident. EPA plans no additional action at this Site.