DEP enforcement actions for September
The following is a selection of state Department of Environmental Protection consent orders for the region for September, the most recent period for which reports are available:
• WETLAND VIOLATION, ASHFIELD, Sept. 28: Issued a unilateral order to the town of Ashfield for the reconstruction of a culvert on Pleasant Street over the North Branch of the Swift River. The town did not apply for, and did not receive, needed permits under the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act and the Massachusetts Clean Waters Act. In response to a complaint, MassDEP conducted an inspection of the site and observed that the town of Ashfield Department of Public Works had on Aug. 20 re-constructed a new corrugated metal culvert in the river that resulted in a “perched” culvert. The North Branch of the Swift River is a cold-water fishery and a presumptive river under the act. Unauthorized construction resulted in the alteration of less than 100 feet of bank and land under water and water bodies for the river. The order requires Ashfield to either submit an interim plan sufficient to ensure that the culvert passes low-flow water elevation and is not perched above the low-flow elevation of the river and/or submit a plan that demonstrates how the culvert complies with the requirements of the Massachusetts river and stream crossing standards.
• WATER VIOLATION, BELCHERTOWN, Sept. 24: Entered into a consent order with Village Greene Condominium Association in Belchertown. The DEP concluded the order with the association concerning repeated exceedances of the maximum contaminant level for total coliform bacteria in the drinking water. The order requires water disinfection should additional violations of the total coliform rule occur within one year.
• WATER VIOLATION, GRANBY, Sept. 24: Entered into a consent order with the town of Granby for repeated exceedances of the maximum contaminant level in the water supply. The order includes short-term response actions, including the use of alternate water and hand sanitizers until the building is vacated and demolished.
• ASBESTOS VIOLATION, BELCHERTOWN, EASTHAMPTON, Sept. 17: Issued a demand letter for a $9,200 penalty to Compass Restoration Services LLC in Belchertown. The company entered into a consent order on Dec. 17, 2009, for asbestos violations. Under that order, Compass had agreed to pay a $16,000 penalty for asbestos violations in Easthampton. The DEP agreed to suspend $9,200 of that penalty provided Compass remained in compliance with asbestos regulations for two years. During inspections conducted on July 14, 2011, and July 21, 2011, the DEP determined that Compass had, among other violations of the asbestos handling regulations, caused a release of asbestos to the environment at the Jabish Middle School located in Belchertown. The DEP has now issued a notice demanding that Compass pay the $9,200 suspended penalty for the violations at the school.
• WATER VIOLATION, HANCOCK, Sept. 14: Issued a unilateral order to Shaker Heights Association in Hancock to address an emergency due to extremely high levels of total coliform within this community public water system. The bacteria count posed an unacceptable risk to public health. The order requires the water system to notify its customers to boil their water (and allow it to cool) before using it for human consumption until further notice. The order also requires proper notification be made to local officials, along with implementation of the emergency response plan. The water system must also conduct total coliform monitoring, perform cleaning and disinfection and inspection of the storage tank, and submit all required reports associated with this effort.
• WATER VIOLATION, CONWAY, Sept. 7: Concluded a consent order with Baker’s Country Store for water supply violations in Conway. The DEP concluded the order with Helen Baker, doing business as Baker’s Country Store, a public water system, concerning repeated exceedances of the maximum contaminant Level for total coliform bacteria in the drinking water. The order includes required response actions, including the addition of disinfection should additional violations of the total coliform rule occur within one year.
• ASBESTOS VIOLATION, GREENFIELD, Sept. 5: Executed a consent order with Associated Building Wreckers Inc. and Baystate Contracting Services Inc. for asbestos violations in Greenfield, Chicopee and Lee. The violations were discovered during DEP inspections of demolition and asbestos handling work at locations in Greenfield, Chicopee and Lee. The DEP determined that ABW failed to employ dust mitigation measures and failed to have asbestos-containing floor tiles removed prior to demolishing a building. BCS had failed to institute proper asbestos handling and disposal procedures while preparing two properties for demolition. The companies agreed to perform a supplemental environmental project. Under it, the companies agreed to properly abate asbestos-containing materials from a building, and thereafter safely demolish that structure, for the city of Springfield. If ABW and BCS fail to perform and complete the work, the companies will be subject to penalties of up to $36,795 and suspended penalties totaling $12,265.
— Compiled by Larry Parnass