An oil spill on the Charles River on Wednesday, near Shaw’s Supermarket, brought hazmat crews to the scene. The Waltham Patch reported in a Dec. 6 article that a passerby noticed what appeared to be an oily substance leaking into the river and called 911 at 4:10 p.m. The oil was later determined to have leaked from the drainage system, piping and manholes in Waltham.

Waltham Fire officials erected booms and dikes to contain the leak, the Patch article noted. In less than half an hour, hazmat crews arrived to provide additional assistance. 

Waltham officials worked together with contractors and government officials to determine the source of the oil. The Patch quoted Waltham Fire spokesman Lt. Scott Perry as explaining that the hazmat teams “put protective measures in place and from there the [Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection] took over the investigation.” He characterized the process as “a joint effort to figure out where this is coming from.” 

A Dec. 6 NBC Boston article announced that Massachusetts DEP officials traced the source to a nearby drainage system where oil was found in piping. On Dec. 7, EcoWatch quoted Charles River Watershed Association Rita Barron Fellow Lisa Kump as explaining that “the oil was contained and there was a hazardous barrel on site.” According to Ed Coletta at the Massachusetts DEP, quoted in this article, oil samples taken from a storm drain system located 0.2 miles upstream from the spill matched the samples from the spillage area. 

Environmental contractors used heavy machinery to vacuum roughly 300 gallons of oil and water mixed together, according to the article. 

This is not the first time oil has spilled into the Charles River in Waltham. A March 13, 2015 Wicked Local article reported on an incident when 4,000 gallons of cable oil polluted a frozen Charles River.