The Mystic River near the site of a 2013 Arlington oil spill faces restoration this fall, and the public has been invited to a forum about it at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, July 6, in the main room (first floor) of the Senior Center.
The meeting — to be run by the Conservation Commission, Department of Planning & Community Development and Department of Public Works — aims to provide a project update and an opportunity to gather public input to help assist in the developing community participation for the project.
To aid the restoration, the Conservation Commission and the town were awarded last fall a Natural Resource Damages Assessment and Restoration Program Grant in the amount of $47,325.
The project, scheduled to begin later this year, will create a native riverbank (riparian) habitat and improve storm-water quality. The site is along the Mystic River at the end of Park Street in the area that was directly affected by oil released from a tanker truck that overturned nearby on Route 60 in May 2013.
The project will restore the riverbank through slope stabilization, the removal of a broken concrete head wall, natural ecosystem enhancement and water-quality improvements.
The project will include participation from the surrounding community in plantings, developing educational signs along the existing adjacent footpath and stewardship of the newly restored habitat.
The state grant, under the Natural Resource Damages Assessment and Restoration Program, provides the funds for restoring and enhancing the riverbank habitat and improvements to the drain-pipe outfall.
The town has agreed to fully fund the installation and maintenance of a new pretreatment system for the storm drain pipe. This related project, managed by the town’s DPW, will capture oils, sediment and litter to reduce contamination and sedimentation in the Mystic River.
The combination of these two projects will provide for the sustainable restoration of the Upper Mystic River Bank and the improvement of local water quality. Planning for the project began in November 2016 in cooperation with the Planning Department and DPW.
Arlington, Medford share
The Town of Arlington and the City of Medford have been awarded $81,600 by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to support projects that will help restore natural resources in the Upper Mystic River damaged during a tanker-truck fuel oil spill in 2013.
The Town of Arlington was awarded $47,325 for its Mystic River Restoration Project. The funds will be used to reduce riverbank erosion at an existing outfall along the Upper Mystic River, create a native habitat following input from community groups, and create interpretive materials to increase public awareness along the river.
The funds, using $55,100 from a settlement between the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and J.P. Noonan Transportation Inc. of West Bridgewater and supplemented by the Commonwealth’s Natural Resource Damage (NRD) Trust.
An additional $26,500 has been made available through the Commonwealth’s NRD Trust, which is funded from environmental fines and penalties.
The spill occurred on Route 60 in Arlington when an oil tanker truck crashed while going around a rotary on the Mystic Valley Parkway. As a result of the crash, the 10,000-gallon compartment of the tanker was breached, dumping nearly all of its contents onto the roadway, which then flowed into storm drains and subsequently into the nearby Mystic River, a state news release said.
Police Chief Fred Ryan said in May 2013 that the tanker was coming on to Route 60 from Medford into Arlington when it failed to succesffully make the turn in the rotary and flipped. As a precaution, several homes in the immediate area were evacuated until the contents of the truck could be identified and the scene secured.
The fuel was leaking, and the fire department and hazardous-materials teams were setting up booms to contain the spill.
Boston.com reported the driver, a 65-year-old Framingham man, is listed in serious condition at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
As of 9 p.m. Friday, the tractor-trailer had been removed from the scene, and crews were working to grind down and repave the road, said Captain Richard Flynn of the Arlington Police Department.
Members of the Arlington Fire/Rescue stabilized the operator on scene before transporting him to Beth Israel with nonlife-threatening injuries.
Photos courtesy Arlington Police and Matt Haberstroh