Injunction, Penalty Ordered Against Rutland Company for Polluting Primary Drinking Water Supply for Boston
BOSTON – A permanent injunction and civil penalty have been ordered against a Rutland company for permitting large amounts of sediment to discharge from its construction site into Moulton Pond and adjacent wetlands, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced today. Moulton Pond, a tributary to the Quabbin Reservoir, and the wetlands are part of the primary public drinking water supply for metropolitan Boston.
“This company not only violated the law, it damaged acres of wetlands and risked our public water supply,” AG Coakley said. “We strongly support the Court’s admonition that companies cannot treat environmental violations as a cost of doing business, particularly given a company with a history of violations like this one.”
"Protecting our water resources is critical to public health and this action by the court sends a strong message to developers about the consequences of failing to safeguard our environment," said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Richard K. Sullivan Jr. "We appreciate the efforts of the Attorney General's office and our agencies to pursue this case on behalf of the Commonwealth."
“The significant penalty imposed in this case reflects the serious nature of the defendant’s violation of the Wetlands Protection Act,” said Commissioner Kenneth Kimmell of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP). “This decision sends a strong message about protecting our water resources, and takes away an economic benefit that the company received by cutting corners.”
“We appreciate the judge’s ruling that enforces the 1992 Watershed Protection Act designed to safeguard the drinking water supply for over 2.2 million Massachusetts residents,” said Department of Conservation and Recreation Commissioner Edward M. Lambert. “This case extends over many years and I’m thankful for the efforts of the Attorney General’s Office, DEP and DCR scientists to effectively enforce our environmental laws.”
Under the terms of the injunction ordered by Suffolk Superior Court Judge Geraldine Hines, Blair Enterprises, Inc. is required to cease and desist from engaging in further violations while working at the Bear Hill Estates subdivision and must mitigate the harm caused at the site. In addition, Blair Enterprises was ordered to pay a civil penalty of up to $392,842.
According to the Court’s decision, Blair Enterprises, Inc. repeatedly failed to comply with state and local permits, in part by improperly implementing and maintaining erosion control measures at its construction site, and by allowing the discharge of sediment into wetlands and the public watershed. The company also failed to comply with an order from MassDEP to stop work and correct its violations.
The company’s failures to implement and maintain erosion controls and to properly monitor its site are violations of its permits under the Wetlands Protection Act and the Watershed Protection Act as well as its Water Quality Certification under the Clean Waters Act. Due to the improper construction, location, and failure to monitor and maintain its sediment basins, hay bales, and other erosion control measures, the site suffered sediment overflows and breakthroughs. The Court further found that as a result of this neglect and cost-cutting, sediment from the construction site covered approximately two acres of wetlands in a layer up to six inches deep and discharged sediment plumes out into Moulton Pond. These silty discharges impeded the flow of the pond and the wetlands, as well as their natural filtration process and overall water quality. The sediment layer also harmed the habitat of the watershed by injuring vegetation and wildlife.
Assistant Attorney General Louis Dundin of Attorney General Martha Coakley’s Environmental Protection Division is handling this matter with assistance from Mary Jude Pigsley, Rhonda Russian, Philip Nadeau, Timothy Cahill and MaryAnn DiPinto at MassDEP, and Frank Hartig, Rebecca Budaj, and Jeff Lacy at the DCR.