Mysterious Oil Spill on Massachusetts’ Charles River Spurs Major Emergency Response
An oil spill on Massachusetts' Charles River drew a major emergency response Wednesday night, as several fire trucks and emergency vehicles, including a hazmat team, raced to help with the cleanup, 7 News Boston WHDH reported.
The spill was detected in Waltham, a town about 12 miles west of Boston. Authorities were alerted by a report of the smell of fuel coming from a patch of river behind Shaw's Supermarket, state police said.
"The truck got down here with the deputy and they had a strong odor of oil and a definite sheen in the water," Waltham Fire Chief Tom MacInnis told Boston25News.
DEVELOPING: Oil spill in Charles River prompts massive emergency response https://t.co/d4Lstp13bW #7News https://t.co/XwPbZmH2yf— 7News Boston WHDH (@7News Boston WHDH)1544049686.0
Containment booms were placed on the river to stop any oil from spreading downstream. The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) also arrived on the scene, and the private cleanup organization National Response Corp. was called in to assist Wednesday into Thursday, The Boston Globe reported.
"We don't know how much has spilled," DEP spokesman Ed Coletta told The Boston Globe. "Oil like this, it basically collects at the surface of the water."
In total, cleanup crews vacuumed up around 300 gallons of mixed oil and water, NBC10 Boston reported.
The spill was contained by 8 p.m. Wednesday night, but DEP and the Waltham police and fire departments continued to investigate the source of the spill, Boston25News reported.
Crews have contained an oil spill in the Charles River in #Waltham but officials are still trying to figure out the… https://t.co/hkdeMx31Qz— Anna Meiler (@Anna Meiler)1544092982.0
"How does an oil spill happen here?" local resident Maureen Green asked Boston25News. Green said she was especially worried about the wildlife. "There are so many ducks and geese in this area. I take all the kids that I watch down here and we feed the ducks," she said.
The Charles River Watershed Association (CRWA) Rita Barron Fellow Lisa Kumpf stopped by the spill to investigate Thursday and reported that authorities were responding responsibly.
"The oil was contained and there was a hazardous waste barrel on site," Kumpf said, as CRWA reported on Twitter. "I also spoke with Ed Coletta at MA @MassDEP, who said that they traced the source to an outfall pipe and are looking at manholes nearby to further investigate the source."
“...I also spoke with Ed Coletta at MA @MassDEP, who said that they traced the source to an outfall pipe and are lo… https://t.co/3hNoeR0JvS— Charles River Watershed Association (@Charles River Watershed Association)1544125573.0
Investigators found a large amount of oil around 0.2 miles upstream, inside a storm drain system and covering several manholes, Coletta further told The Boston Globe. He said they had taken samples from the oil gathered near the manholes to see if they match what is in the river.
"We think they do," he said.
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By Brett Wilkins
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the meatpacking industry worked together to downplay and disregard risks to worker health during the Covid-19 pandemic, as shown in documents published Monday by Public Citizen and American Oversight.
<div id="13077" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="11b9fe5ff48ebc437353df6df9c2c892"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1305915938148147205" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Just a week before the Trump administration issued an executive order aimed at keeping meat packing plants open, th… https://t.co/DkbXgPm4YR</div> — ProPublica (@ProPublica)<a href="https://twitter.com/propublica/statuses/1305915938148147205">1600189597.0</a></blockquote></div>
<div id="36e4c" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="e7c8048c2755109629a3b3072fcb3261"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1304424041814593539" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Meatpacking union @UFCW, which reps workers at this plant (four of whom died), slams OSHA for the small $13k fine a… https://t.co/tnhfKd89ab</div> — Dave Jamieson (@Dave Jamieson)<a href="https://twitter.com/jamieson/statuses/1304424041814593539">1599833901.0</a></blockquote></div><p>The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union, which represents Smithfield Foods workers, <a href="https://www.argusleader.com/story/news/crime/2020/09/10/osha-fines-smithfield-foods-sioux-falls-south-dakota/5768786002/?eType=EmailBlastContent&eId=f7bf3f03-ce98-4df4-9c45-f44d9a6a5890" target="_blank">slammed</a> the fine as "insulting and a slap on the wrist."</p><p>"How much is the health, safety, and life of an essential worker worth? Based on the actions of the Trump administration, clearly not much," said UFCW president Marc Perrone.</p><p>"This so-called 'fine' is a slap on the wrist for Smithfield, and a slap in the face of the thousands of American meatpacking workers who have been putting their lives on the line to help feed America since the beginning of this pandemic," Perrone added. </p><p>Other critics, including vegans, vegetarians, and animal rights and environmental advocates argued that the accelerated spread of Covid-19 from meatpacking facilities is but the latest compelling argument in favor of reducing—or eliminating—meat consumption.</p><p>"We know that Covid-19 originated in a meat market and that previous influenza viruses originated in pigs and chickens," People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) <a href="https://www.peta.org/blog/meat-shortage-slaugherhouses-go-vegan/" target="_blank">said</a> in April amid news that a Foster Farms slaughterhouse in Livingston, California was <a href="https://www.peta.org/blog/coronavirus-covid-19-slaughterhouse-meat-concerns/?utm_source=PETA::Twitter&utm_medium=Social&utm_campaign=0420::veg::PETA::Twitter::Workers%20Blame%20Major%20Pig%20Slaughterhouse%20600%20Infected%20COVID-19::::tweet" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">ordered closed</a> by local health authorities due to a Covid-19 outbreak that killed eight employees.</p>
<div id="28490" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="48ddd3480a2beb42597d9516ef652f0f"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1252416495990140929" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">THIS IS OUTRAGEOUS! @SmithfieldFoods allegedly took NO PRECAUTIONS to protect the safety of its workers, leaving o… https://t.co/viAJ026pLy</div> — PETA (@PETA)<a href="https://twitter.com/peta/statuses/1252416495990140929">1587434336.0</a></blockquote></div><p>"It's not a matter of <em>whether</em> using and killing animals for food will give rise to another disease outbreak—it's a matter of <em>when</em>," said PETA. "There has never been a better, more obvious time for businesses to put an end to their dirty trade of slaughtering animals for their flesh." </p>
By Andrea Willige
More than half of the world's population lives in cities, and most future population growth is predicted to happen in urban areas. But the concentration of large numbers of people and the ecosystems built around their lives has also been a driver of climate change.