Diesel spill near Assabet River bridge to be cleaned up


Diesel spill near Assabet River bridge to be cleaned up
A view of the Assabet River near Hudson High School. (Photo/Caroline Gordon)

HUDSON – An oil spill that occurred before Christmas will soon be cleaned up.

During a Hudson Conservation Commission meeting on Jan. 5 the board, Fire Chief Bryan Johannes and co-founder of the environmental assessment and civil engineering firm River Hawk Environmental Bill Kenney discussed how to mitigate the spill.

A car hit a truck on Route 495 near the Assabet River bridge on Dec. 23, which resulted in an oil spill that discharged into the river and forced the highway to temporarily shut down, according to Kenney.

The Hudson and Marlborough Fire Departments worked together and released two booms, which are floating devices used to contain oil spills, into the river, Kenney said.

However, Kenney said that the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) didn’t want to keep the highway closed due to the busy holiday traffic, so River Hawk Environmental staff were not able to clean up the spill.

“It was a travel holiday, it was rainy and crummy out and DOT didn’t want to leave the highway closed for longer than they needed to,” Kenney said.

He added, “In fact, we haven’t had any luck with the DOT with gaining access until a little bit of headway today [Jan. 5] we gained. It looks like they are gonna let us out there Wednesday of next week [Jan. 11].”

As part of River Hawk Environmental’s plan to clean up the site, Kenney said they will assess the residual surface impacts, power-wash the catch basins and determine if any additional cleaning up must be done near the outfall or either the edge or rest of the river.

If the firm determines that more cleanup must be conducted, Kenney said that work would “probably not” take place on Jan. 11.

“We’d probably take a step back and figure out where we really needed to do any clean up work and how we are going to restore the slope because it is sort of on the edge of 495 and the river. And, we wouldn’t want to take any pause to get it [the site] into full restoration,” he said.

Kenney said that the containment booms will remain in place until they are “very sure” that there would be no oil discharging into the rest of the river.

“I don’t have all of the information right now, but I will by the end of the day on Wednesday,” he said.


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