Police & Fire Transportation

North End / Waterfront HazMat Task Force Makes Information Request

The North End / Waterfront HazMat Task Force wrote a letter to the State and City transportation departments requesting detailed information regarding the types and quantities of hazardous materials that travel on designated HC routes. Transportation officials are conducting a public safety study of hazardous material cargo truck routes in and around the City of Boston.

“As North End/Waterfront citizens, we are sincerely and primarily concerned about the safety of living in our community in close proximity to a designated hazardous cargo route. Recognized as one of the country’s oldest historic neighborhoods, the North End/Waterfront is the most densely populated area in Massachusetts. This reality is compounded by millions of tourists annually. Our small businesses also depend upon a healthy tourist environment centered on public access and safety. Even a minor incident will have catastrophic consequences to residents, visitors, environmental resources, historic structures and Boston’s reputation as a safe, welcoming city.”

“We continue to advocate for a complete, permanent ban on hazardous cargo trucks using any North End/Waterfront streets as a through route. Hazardous material trucks not delivering to the North End/Waterfront should be confined to interstate routes outside of the City to avoid serious public safety risk.”

More information at www.hazmatters.eboard.com.

Below are the specific questions asked in the letter:

1.      As identified in the Hazardous Materials Emergency Response Guidebook for First Responders, the following substances require widely varying actions and treatments if they are released. Please list the materials by type and quantity being transported through the existing hazardous cargo route over the last four years.

a.       explosives
b.      gases
c.       flammable liquids
d.      flammable solids
e.       oxidizing substances and organic peroxides
f.       toxic substances and infectious substances
g.       radioactive materials
h.      corrosive substances
i.        miscellaneous hazardous materials/products, substances or organisms

2.      Are all hazardous material trucks treated alike as they come through the City, regardless of their contents? What precautions are taken for various hazardous material types?

3.      What role has the Local Emergency Planning Committees (LEPC) and Boston Emergency Management had in the selection of the proposed transportation route? Please forward their input.

4.      Has a Hazard Identification and Risk Analysis (HIRA) been completed for the proposed transportation routes? We would appreciate a copy of the HIRA.

5.      Has a vulnerability analysis been completed, as required by law, because of the close proximity and density of our community? Please forward this analysis.

6.      Describe the evacuation plan for the North End/Waterfront neighborhood in the case of an accident.

7.      Has the City/State been collecting copies of Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) used by motor carriers of these hazardous materials?

a.       What is the procedure for collecting and monitoring the MSDS?
b.      Who is the custodian of MSDS and where are they maintained?

8.      Does a comprehensive emergency response annex plan exist that deals with hazardous materials incidents/accidents?

a.       Has the CAMEO software package been used to model incidents/accidents in order to plan a response to emergencies?
b.      When was the plan last updated and exercised? Please forward the plan.

9.      Where exactly are the Hazardous Materials Response Teams located (Boston Fire Department and Regional Response Teams)?

a.       What is the response time across the existing HC route in the event of an incident/accident (best and worst case)?

10.  How many hazardous material vehicles travel through the City during the day, 7am-6pm? At night?

a.       Provide a range from low to high and how that may change once a route is formally designated.
b.      What percentage of those vehicles deliver products within the City?
c.       How and when were these numbers determined?
d.      Has the City/State counted the number of hazardous material trucks traveling over the North Washington Street bridge?
e.       What types and quantities of hazardous materials were counted?

11.  Do City/State/Federal regulations allow hazardous cargo trucks near tunnel entrances? How close?

12.  Do City/State/Federal regulations allow hazardous cargo trucks in proximity to City sewers and drains?

13.  How do you define an illegal overhead deck? What is the basis and source of that definition?

14.  Forward a copy of the complete contract between the City/State and Battelle, Inc. and any follow-up contract changes that have revised the scope of work.

15.  What is the anticipated date for the release of the public safety study that you have contracted? We want a copy as soon as the study is available.