GRAFTON, Mass. — Approximately 1,000 gallons of heating oil spilled on the property of a North Grafton truck leasing company Sunday morning sending the fuel down an embankment where it pooled in a small pond.
The accident occurred at Suttles Truck Leasing, a chemical carrier at 88 Westborough Road owned by the Dana Companies.
“The release was reported as soon as it was discovered," George Criswell, Suttles' terminal manager, said in a press statement. "The cause of the unintentional release remains under investigation.”
The accident occurred on a lot overlooking the pond, said Edmund Colletta, Jr. a director from the Office of Public Affairs at the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection. He said a temporary mobile heater was set up on Sunday, when oil being fed from a tanker truck with a manually controlled pump was left on, overfilling the heater's tank and sending the fuel to run down the embankment and into a "finger pond".
Colletta said there was no containment set up around the furnace to catch the overflow.
The pond, said Colletta, is about 20 feet wide and 300 feet long and leads to a stream that connects to a town drinking water source about a mile away.
He said the town well was shut off for maintenance before the accident occurred so there was no immediate danger of polluting the drinking water. “As far as we can tell, no oil got down that far," Colletta said.
He also said Suttles Truck Leasing put down booms, absorbents, sand bags, and an oil water separator at the channel near the end of the pond. “They did quite a bit to contain it," he said.
New England Disposal Technologies, based in Sutton, was hired to clean up the spill who were observed on-site Wednesday afternoon from Westborough Road.
Colleta said most of the oil is under the ice which the clean up crew have to break up to get at it and then use a vacuum hose.
He also said a member of the DEP is visiting the site daily to gauge the progress but added that the clean-up might take a few weeks because of the ice and a snowstorm in the forecast.
“All available resources are being utilized at this time," said Michael Polselli, Suttles' New England Region manager in the press statement. "We are committed to site remediation and restoration.”
Colleta said the Mass DEP is not considering fines currently but will review the possibility in the future.
This is not the first accident on the company site. In April 2011, a worker from the Dana Companies accidentally mixed nitric acid with waste water sending a vapor cloud of gas into the air which forced the evacuation of North Grafton Elementary School and a partial shutdown of Route 30.