In a press release Upton Police Chief Bradley reported at approximately 2:36 p.m. Upton Safety Departments were notified by the Grafton & Upton Railroad of a chemical spill. Rail Yard employees on scene reported a faulty valve on a transloading cart was the cause of 100 gallons of Styrene to be spilled. Styrene is a colorless liquid used to manufacture rubber and plastic components and is highly flammable with a low flash point. Chief Bradley said, “Fortunately, the current cold weather conditions greatly reduced the dangers of ignition.”
The transloading area of the rail yard is equipped with an impervious ground cover which contained the spill to an isolated area. Chief Bradley reported Fire Chief Goodale immediately isolated an area surrounding the spill site to a distance of 150 feet in accordance with Hazmat guidelines. The evacuation area did not include any nearby homes or businesses.
The Upton Fire Department, a State Hazmat Team, Clean Harbors Environmental Services, the Upton Police Department and several area fire departments including; Hopedale Fire, Grafton Fire and Hopkinton Fire were on scene.
The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, Hazmat officials and Upton Public Safety Officials are monitoring the cleanup and removal of the spilled material by Clean Harbors. Chief Bradley said, “The site will continue to be monitored over the next several days.”
According to the press release, representatives from the Grafton & Upton Railroad remained on scene throughout the incident. Doug Pizzi, spokesperson for the GU Railroad released the following statement; “The Grafton and Upton Railroad has planned and trained for rare situations like this and railroad personnel followed procedures to the letter.” “The railroad also greatly appreciates the professionalism of everyone who responded to the spill” said Pizzi.
Police Chief Bradley said, “During the cleanup and mitigation process a mild odor of Styrene may be detected near the site over the next few days. The Department of Environmental Protection and Massachusetts Hazardous Materials Team has determined that the odor near the scene is currently non-hazardous.”
At approximately 11 p.m. on Wednesday, December 18 emergency management crews were seen leaving Grafton Upton Rail Yard.