State DEP Conducts On-Site Visit at Railroad in Upton
By Michelle Sanford Staff Reporter/Columnist · June 30, 2011
Representatives from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), along with several Upton town officials met with Grafton Upton Railroad owner John Delli Priscoli on May 11 to discuss some of railroad's operations since the railroad become active again. Local officials in attendance at the meeting included Town Manager Blythe Robinson, Fire and EMS Chief Ron Goodale, Diane Tiernan and Richard Desjardin from the Upton Board of Health, as well as members of DEP, including Chief Bureau of Waste Management John Kronopolus.
One such operation assessed that day was the wood pellets business. The wood pellets are brought on site by a rail car and then vacuumed into silos. The pellets are then bagged and sold to local businesses. Any dust that is collected throughout the process is made into pellets and bagged, as well. The Dana Companies, a transport company based out of New Jersey, is leasing space from the railroad, and oversees the pellet business. Representatives from The Dana Companies were also present at the meeting.
According to Kronopolus, if more than one ton of particulate matter is released into the atmosphere, the pellet operation could require an Air Quality Limited Plan of Approval from DEP. However, based on the description of the operation, Kronopolus did not feel that action would be necessary at the present time.
In addition, a transloading business, which is also operated by The Dana Companies, was looked at that day. The operation consists of both hazardous and nonhazardous liquids pumped from rail cars to truck trailers, which could consist of anything from toluene to corn syrup. The liquid is pumped from the top of the rail car to the top of the truck trailers in order to help minimize the potential of any spillage and to collect any vapors and return them to the rail car. According to Robinson, the railroad is under federal regulation and therefore cannot be denied the type of liquids that will be transloaded although it must establish procedures to make sure it is done safely.
Kronopolus reported that no violations of Massachusetts Hazardous Waste Regulations were observed. In regard to the liquids, a sloping system is in the process of being built so that any possible spills will be directed into a retention basin.
All present at the meeting agreed it was a productive discussion and visit and that the railroad is following the necessary regulations. "There were no concerns raised," said Robinson.