Heating oil from leaking boiler flows into Connecticut River

A boom line stretches across the Connecticut River in Hanover, where heating oil from a recently installed boiler seeped into the river, the Hanover Fire Department said.

HANOVER — Hundreds of gallons of heating oil leaked from a newly installed boiler and seeped into the Connecticut River, the Hanover Fire Department said Sunday.

A security officer discovered the leak at the U.S. Army Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory on Lyme Road, just east of the Connecticut River, around 4 p.m. Saturday, the fire department said in a news release.

Haz-mat crews spent about eight hours on the scene, placing rigid booms across the river to contain as much oil as possible and prevent it from flowing further downstream, according to the news release.

“The swift response of all agencies involved this evening was paramount in minimizing the (effects) of this spill,” Hanover Fire Capt. Josh Merriam said in the news release. “We would like to thank all of our local, state, and federal partners.”

The security officer led firefighters to the recently installed boiler in the main lab, where firefighters isolated the leak and shut it down along with the boiler, according to the news release. The leaked oil flowed to a drain, which leads to the Connecticut River, according to the news release.

A general alarm was issued, recalling all off-duty Hanover Fire Department personnel and notifying New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services. The laboratory also activated its emergency response protocols, which included notifying the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Response Center and Clean Harbors, according to the news release.

Firefighters from neighboring communities including Lebanon and the Vermont towns of Hartford and Norwich also responded and assisted with the cleanup effort, which led to 550 feet of boom being stretched across the river just north of the Ledyard Bridge, the news release said.

Investigators estimated that about 350 gallons of No. 2 heating fuel leaked from the boiler, according to the news release. The boom lines will remain in place for a couple more days as Clean Harbors collects any residual oil from the spill, the news release said. Boat traffic will be unable to pass until the boom has been removed.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020
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