MCP Response Actions

Buzzards Bay, MA

Project Highlights

  • LSP-of-record for MCP response actions associated with the release of approximately 50,000 to 98,000 gallons of No. 6 oil
  • MCP and LSP oversight of large project team consisting of remedial contractors, environmental consultants, and ecological risk assessors for this Tier 1A site
  • Performed preliminary and comprehensive response actions to achieve Class A RAO for the entire shoreline and subtidal zone affected by the release
  • Richard J. Wozmak, P.E., P.H., LSP, LEP  was the LSP-of-record for a large No. 6 oil release in Buzzards Bay,Massachusetts. Approximately 50,000 to 98,000 gallons of oil was released from a barge entering Buzzards Bay in April 2003 when the barge struck a rock. The majority of the oil floated on the water surface impacting approximately 84 miles of Buzzards Bay shoreline. Response crews quickly mobilized under the direction of the U.S Coast Guard to contain and remove oil from the water surface and shoreline.

    The LSP was called to the scene to assist the U.S. Coast Guard and MADEP in developing cleanup approaches and goals to meet the requirements of the MCP as well as the Federal Oil Pollution Act of 1990. After initial response actions directed by the U.S. Coast Guard were completed, additional cleanup and site characterization was performed in accordance with the MCP. MCP response actions have consisted mostly of physical oil removal activities under an Immediate Response Action Plan, intertidal and subtidal environmental quality and ecological studies under both preliminary and comprehensive response actions, public involvement activities in the form of public meetings and notifications of important MCP milestones, and human health and ecological risk characterization. The majority of the shoreline affected by the release and the subtidal zone of Buzzards Bay have reached environmental quality conditions allowing the normal use of the bay by local communities, vacationers and the fishing industry.

    Response action activities were performed on behalf of the company that owned the barge and their insurance company located in England. Substantial interaction with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, U.S. Coast Guard, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Natural Resources Damages Assessment Team, and the barge company’s legal team allowed for a successful cleanup and MCP closure operation under extreme pressure from the Buzzards Bay communities and local officials, and public interest groups.  In addition, substantial public involvement activities kept the communities that use Buzzards Bay informed of response actions giving them a high level of confidence that the Bay was being restored to conditions that were safe for normal uses and activities.