Original Date: 03/17/1997
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Best Practice : Watershed Protection
In the mid-1980s, Polaroid and the Waltham community became aware of the need for coordinated watershed planning and a program to reduce the potential for liability. Since Polaroid sits on a steep hill, runoff water flows directly into a drainage area adjacent to Route 128, a major commuting highway, and then into a drinking water reservoir. Polaroid had spill response plans for specific buildings at its facility, but no unified site plan to accommodate a spill which might flow beyond the boundaries of a building. In response, Polaroid developed a watershed protection plan for minimizing site spill risks to the community.
Polaroid initiated a hazardous materials team which established a coordinated site spill response plan. In the event of a site spill, Polaroid can close, within seconds, a 42-inch storm water valve in the site’s drainage system which will prevent 60,000 gallons of runoff water from flowing into the community reservoir. If a spill occurs during a sustained heavy rainfall, the storm water valve and drainage system can contain the spill for two hours. Even in a worst-case scenario, the valve will provide enough time for Polaroid to respond to an incident without impacting the community.
Polaroid improved the roadways around its site to provide multiple vehicular routes to its buildings and reduce the likelihood and impact of a transport vehicle spill. Other improvements include a holding bay to stage loaded trucks in inclement weather and a large storage tank to collect roof runoff water. The roof runoff water is then used for cooling towers, eliminating the need to purchase water for this purpose. The Massachusetts Water Department has appreciated the controlled discharge to the community water reservoir because it is now more manageable.
Another aspect of Polaroid’s watershed protection program involves its community outreach efforts. These efforts include Polaroid’s regular participation in the Waltham Earth Day festivities; assistance to the Cambridge Water Department by jointly developing informational brochures and hosting community meetings; voluntary stenciling of community water drains to discourage pollution; and open-line communication to the Massachusetts Water Department and the Waltham community.
Polaroid has gained many benefits from its watershed protection plan and activities. The risk in handling a site spill is now minimal. Increased community awareness of the issues and the spill response plan characterizes Polaroid as a company concerned with the health and safety of its community. By partnering with the Cambridge Water Department, Polaroid has also established credibility with the authorities and a strong line of communication for resolving issues.
For more information see the
Point of Contact for this survey.