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FAQs

Providing information on contamination and when to report a spill.

There is a strong petroleum odor coming out of my kitchen faucet, what should I do?

The Spill Response & Complaint Investigation Section (SRCIS) of the Oil Remediation and Compliance Bureau (ORCB) responds to oil-related complaints, spills and/or leaking underground storage tanks. If you suspect petroleum contamination in a potable water supply, contact the ORCB at (603) 271-3899 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. If it is an emergency, SRCIS may be contacted via the NH State Police at (603) 223-4381.

How do I get information or part of the information in a contaminated site file?

The information in Site Remediation Program (SRP) files is available by clicking on the OneStop link. The database is free, open to the public and searchable by town, address and/or specific location. Alternatively, copies of files and be purchased through the Public Information and Permitting Unit (PIP), who can be reached at (603) 271-8876 or info@des.nh.gov to set up an appointment.

Does the state have any funds to assist in cleaning up of contaminated sites?

The Oil Discharge, Disposal and Cleanup Fund (ODD Fund) was established to assist owners of petroleum storage facilities who incur cleanup costs when a release (spill or leak) occurs. To be eligible for these funds, the facility site must be in compliance with applicable regulatory requirements. For further information contact the Fund Administrator at the ORCB (603) 271-2570 or through Telephone/Email, on the SRP home page. Additional information on the Petroleum Reimbursement Fund Program is included on the website.

Does the state have any funds to assist replacing my oil tank?

The Safetank Program is available to income-qualified homeowners in New Hampshire to provide funding for low-income homeowners to upgrade or replace substandard tank systems to prevent leaks. NHDES accepts Safetank applications and will review planned aboveground storage tank (AST) system replacements or upgrades based on site-specific information. NHDES works with tank installation professionals, community action programs, fuel oil dealers, manufactured housing communities, and other industry partners accordingly to encourage the responsible stewardship of home heating oil systems throughout the State.

What is that mystery sheen on the water?

If you observe visible petroleum contamination on the water surface, contact the ORCB at (603) 271-3899 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. If it is an emergency, SRCIS may be contacted via the NH State Police at (603) 223-4381. Some helpful information to include may be specific location details, along with any detailed observations and/or photographs that can safely be obtained.


In some cases, mystery sheens can be the result of natural phenomena such as iron bacteria or certain types of algae blooms.  

 

When do I report an oil spill?

The State of New Hampshire has statutory and regulatory requirements regarding the reporting of discharges of both petroleum products and hazardous wastes. To promote compliance with these "duty to report" requirements, the following excerpts are presented from the appropriate laws and regulations.


Duty To Report, NH Oil Spillage In Public Waters Act RSA 146-A:5,

  1. Whoever is responsible for the operation of any oil facility, carrier, or vessel that discharges oil in violation of this chapter shall immediately notify the NHDES Waste Management Division. Any person who fails to give such notice shall be guilty of a misdemeanor if a natural person, or guilty of a felony if any other person.
  2. Each day of a continuing violation shall constitute a separate offense.
  3. Any person who becomes aware of an oil discharge in violation of this chapter shall immediately notify the NHDES Waste Management Division.


Notification, "Contaminated Sites Management” Env-Or 604.06


Any responsible party or other person having knowledge of a discharge of oil shall report such discharge to the NHDES Waste Management Division immediately (603) 271-3899 (Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.), or to the NH State Police Dispatch at (603) 223-4381 (24 hours/day), unless all five of the following conditions are met:

  1. The discharge is less than 25 gallons;
  2. The discharge is immediately contained;
  3. The discharge and/or contamination is completely removed within 24 hours;
  4. There is no impact or potential impact to groundwater or surface water;
  5. There is no potential for vapors which pose an imminent threat to human health.