AG Coakley Obtains Settlement for Alleged Environmental Violations at Metal Coating Facility in Natick
The settlement and final judgment entered on February 9, 2011, by Suffolk Superior Court Judge Geraldine S. Hines, orders Duralectra, Inc. and Duralectra-CHN, LLC to pay a civil penalty of $100,000 to the Commonwealth and to comply with applicable hazardous waste and other environmental laws.
According to the complaint, filed in Suffolk Superior Court, Duralectra, Inc. illegally treated, disposed of, stored and managed hazardous waste at its metal coating facility in Natick. The complaint alleges that Duralectra, Inc. intentionally "boiled down" a 2,000 gallon tank of waste sodium dichromate solution, which released hazardous fumes into the facility and the environment, in a way that put its workers and the public at risk. The conduct was allegedly based on the company's belief that reducing the volume of waste would reduce the cost of disposal and save the company money. According to the complaint, the more concentrated waste was much more costly to dispose of properly. The alleged violations were detected and investigated by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP).
"Companies using dangerous chemicals and producing hazardous wastes must meet required safety precautions," Attorney General Coakley said. "And protecting the health and welfare of workers and the public must come first."
"It's dangerous and irresponsible in an enclosed building to take a vat of chemicals and boil it down to reduce the volume as a way to avoid the cost of proper treatment and disposal," said MassDEP Commissioner Kenneth L. Kimmell. "Business owners who use chemicals have no excuse for not knowing how to properly and safely manage these chemicals, and what must be done to comply with the regulations."
In addition to the practice of "boiling down," the complaint alleges that Duralectra, Inc. illegally handled and managed hazardous wastes in a variety of ways, including improper storage for greater than 90 days and without proper signage and delineation of storage areas, use of unlabeled and open containers, and failure to maintain proper plans or records. Several of the violations in the complaint were allegedly repeat violations from an inspection in 2006.
Duralectra-CHN, LLC, has successor liability for all of Duralectra's violations as a result of a merger, in May 2008, involving several entities including Duralectra, Inc., its parent company Katahdin Industries, Inc., and a Rhode Island entity, CHN Anodizing, Inc., which then operated a metal finishing business in Rhode Island.
This case was handled by Assistant Attorney General Carol Iancu of Attorney General Coakley's Environmental Protection Division, with assistance of Colleen McConnell, Regional Counsel, and Scott Fasulo of MassDEP's Northeast Regional Office.