The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits were developed by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in close collaboration with state counterparts at the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, and with significant public input from the community and other interested parties.
"The new permits for Chelsea Creek will provide a greater level of protection for the environment and for peoples’ health," said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA's New England office. "The community had many good suggestions for the permits, and we are grateful for their participation."
The permits are for the following seven bulk petroleum storage facilities: Chelsea Sandwich LLC; Coastal Oil of New England, Inc., Chelsea Terminal; Gulf Oil LP; Global REVCO Terminal LLC; Global Petroleum Corp.; Global South Terminal LLC; and Irving Oil Terminal, Revere.
The permits are designed to control and limit the extent to which contaminants found in petroleum products can migrate into the storm water and from there into Chelsea Creek. The permits are an important component of continuing broader public and private efforts to restore the health of Chelsea Creek and Boston Harbor.
"We appreciated the opportunity to participate in the development of these permit limitations," said Aaron Toffler, a representative of the Chelsea Creek Restoration Partnership, a group that advocates for the health of Chelsea Creek. "Although not all of our recommendations were included in the permits, EPA has gone out of their way to allow for public participation, and we look forward to working together in the future."
The NPDES permits address potential adverse impacts to sustainable fish populations, aesthetics, and recreation due to the discharge of storm water from these facilities. Storm water accumulating within these facilities has the potential to come in contact with contaminants found in petroleum products during the receipt, storage, and distribution of these materials.
By enacting the new permits, EPA is:
-Establishing specific water quality and technology-based effluent limitations and monitoring requirements, including more stringent limits for contaminants like benzene, a toxic pollutant.
-Requiring each facility to update and maintain stormwater pollution prevention plans and initiatives that will prevent the occurrence of discharges from activities and operations, which could contribute pollutants to Chelsea Creek. The facilities are required to make yearly certifications to EPA that it is keeping up with their stormwater program requirements.
-Identifying and controlling maximum flow rate for each facilities’ oil/water separator to ensure that the water quality of the creek is protected.
Chelsea Creek, which flows from the mouth of Mill Creek between Chelsea and Revere, to Boston's Inner Harbor, is a designated port area with a stretch of waterfront set aside primarily for industrial and commercial use. For centuries it has been flanked by working industries that use the channel to transport raw materials and finished goods.