The Massachusetts DEP (MassDEP) has had enforcement actions this quarter that have resulted in the collection of millions of dollars of fines. The largest fine paid to settle alleged violations is $7.5 million by the operator of three Massachusetts municipal waste-to-energy facilities. The three facilities, which can each process up to 1,500 tons of municipal solid waste per day, all generate ash, which contains contaminants such as lead, cadmium, and arsenic. This is a multi-media environmental settlement in which the MassDEP alleged the this operator emitted ash through holes in the roofs of two of its buildings, failed to properly treat and dispose of its ash, repeatedly dumped wastewater into a surrounding wetland, and failed to report a sudden release of hazardous material, leading multiple violations of the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act and the Hazardous Waste Management Act. The waste-to-energy company admits no wrongdoing in resolving these allegations. Per the settlement agreement, the waste-to-energy company is conducting periodic independent audits to demonstrate on-going compliance.
On a smaller-scale, the MassDEP assessed a $30,000 penalty to an asphalt manufacturing facility for violating MassDEP's Air Pollution Control and Hazardous Waste Management regulations. After receiving complaints of visual emissions and odors, the MassDEP conducted an unannounced inspection of the facility. These conditions were confirmed by MassDEP inspectors. The MassDEP thus determined that the company was violating its Air Quality plan approval and the Massachusetts Hazardous Waste Management regulations. The final consent order included the noted fine and the requirement for the facility to upgrade its air pollution control equipment on all asphalt manufacturing equipment, including its load-out areas.
If you have concerns about your compliance status, an audit of your facility can evaluate compliance and develop a plan to address any potential non-compliance activities at your site, potentially avoiding serious fines like those described above. Trinity Consultants has experience working with many clients in Massachusetts and is therefore well qualified to assist you with the complex capital project permitting process and help you determine the compliance status of your facility, identify potential gaps and recommend and implement required mitigation measures. For assistance, please contact Trinity’s Massachusetts office at (508) 630-2246.