Explosion Alarms Water District

Following an explosion last Friday at a recycling business, the Hyannis Water Board has expressed concern about whether the business is complying with licensing requirements.

The owner of the business, however, said he has protection through state law to conduct his business in his current manner.

The explosion was reported at 11:05 AM at Ferreira’s Recycling at 85 Old Yarmouth Road, according to Hyannis Fire Captain Hans Kristofferson.

The business is 750 feet from the water board’s Maher wells, which provide between 25 and 50 percent of the district’s water, according to Hyannis Water Board Chairman Deborah L. Krau.

The wells are highly important to the district’s supply, she said.

Ms. Krau said the water board contacted the Barnstable Licensing Authority, the acting town manager and the town’s director of public works about the incident.

She said the water board has been assured that the town’s legal department is looking into the situation.

Capt. Kristofferson said a contractor at the site was using a torch to cut into the frame of a truck that was being disassembled.Residual gasoline in lines inside the truck ignited, according to Hyannis Deputy Fire Chief Dean Melanson.

Police passing by the business heard an explosion and called Hyannis Fire.

Firefighters used dry chemicals and a water hose line to extinguish the fire, according to Capt. Kristofferson.

Timothy Ferreira, who owns the business, said the noise of the explosion was from a tire that popped after the gasoline ignited into flame.

“It was an accident,” Mr. Ferreira said of the incident.

The fire department notified the water department, town inspectional services and the Barnstable Board of Health of the event.

The board of health in turn notified the state Department of Environmental Protection.

Joseph Ferson, a spokesman for the state agency, said less than 10 gallons of gasoline leaked from the truck.

Mr. Ferson said the spill did not have an effect on the nearby Maher wells.

Ms. Krau, however, expressed concern that that sort of work was going on outside the recycling business building.

“We’re very concerned with that type of activity in that type of wellhead protection area,” Ms. Krau said.

She questioned whether the activities going on at the business are consistent with its license from the town.

Thomas Geiler, director of regulatory services for the town, said town licensing officials also are looking into whether work was being conducted outside the restrictions of the license.

“They’re not supposed to be cutting up vehicles there,” Mr. Geiler said yesterday.

But Mr. Ferreira, who owns the business, said yesterday he has protection under state law to operate his business as at present.

He said the town ordinance governing his business is ambiguous.

Hans Keijser, superintendent of the Hyannis Water Department, said the proximity of the business to the Maher wells is a continuing concern.

“The Maher wells are always in danger,” he said yesterday. “The wells are only 750 feet away from this location. Thankfully nobody did get hurt and Bob Murphy, the [Department of Environmental Protection] spill response person, estimated the spill to be well under the [agency’s] threshold of 10 gallons of gasoline so it was determined that there was no immediate threat.”

Mr. Keijser said the Hyannis Fire department did an excellent job dealing with the emergency and immediately notifying all officials.

“The Hyannis Water System is seriously concerned about this incident, though, because it should have never been able to occur,” Mr. Keijser said.” That location is very sensitive to the drinking water supply of Hyannis... and the protection needs to be more effective.”

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