Report Pollution or Spills

Step 1:

Call your town: call the Fire Department, AND the Board of Health or the Department of Public Works. If the incident is in a wetland, stream or riverfront area, also call the Conservation Commission.

Why? While the Fire Department and Board of Health will handle the immediate response and coordinate with the Commonwealth, your Conservation Commission has local authority over wetlands and streams. Your Department of Public Works may have a hotline for reaching someone after business hours. The Board of Health also has jurisdiction for many types of pollution and should be notified as well.

pollution_spillStep 2:

In the case of oil spills or other hazardous materials spills, also call the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection.

DEP recommends calling as soon as you have knowledge of a release of oil or hazardous materials to the environment. Notify the Emergency Response section at DEP by calling this toll-free 24-hour statewide number: (888) 304-1133.

Leave your name, phone number, a description of what you observed, and the time and date. DEP also has a statewide toll-free Environmental Strike Force hotline at (888) 846-5283; the agency will return your call. If it is something serious, this is the most direct way to access someone with authority.

Why? The DEP is responsible for enforcing many state environmental regulations, including the Mass Environmental Policy Act and the Water Management Act

Step 3:

If the violation involves a wastewater treatment plant or a factory or industrial discharge, DEP is still the first contact. Call the toll-free DEP Emergency Response section (888) 304-1133. For these major facilities, your second call could be to the US EPA‚ National Response Center, 24 Hour Spill Reporting Hotline (800) 424-8802. The Region 1 EPA office in Boston works with the National Response Center.

Why? Wastewater Treatment Plants and other large volume facilities are regulated by the federal government under the NPDES (National Pollution Discharge Elimination System). The permits are issued jointly by both EPA and Massachusetts DEP. DEP is usually responsible for first response to a potential problem.

Step 4:

After you call DEP & EPA, please email TRWA at

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