East Boston Auto Shop Sued for Alleged Environmental Violations
D&M Auto Doctor Allegedly Dumped Illegal Waste into Belle Isle Marsh
BOSTON – An auto repair business is being sued for allegedly failing to clean up underground gasoline contamination and not removing construction and demolition debris that was illegally dumped in the Belle Isle Marsh Reservation, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced today.
“Massachusetts law requires owners of contaminated properties to clean up their properties in order to prevent risk to public health and the environment from the dangers of hazardous materials,” AG Coakley said. “Not only do we allege that this business put the Belle Isle Marsh at risk by failing to remediate the gasoline contamination on the property, but it directly impacted this important natural resource through the dumping of solid waste in a valuable, state-owned wetland.”
“Dumping in any area is serious, but in an Area of Critical Environmental Concern, it is an especially intolerable act,” said MassDEP Commissioner Kenneth Kimmell. “Mr. Scata’s action harmed the flora, fauna and species that rely on this important urban marshland. This case sends a clear message that it is far more cost-effective and better for business to do it right the first time.”
According to the complaint filed yesterday in Suffolk Superior Court, Manuele Scata allegedly failed to clean up underground gasoline contamination at his auto repair business, D&M Auto Doctor, located on Bennington Street in East Boston, and also allegedly failed to remove construction and demolition debris that he dumped – or allowed others to dump – in the Belle Isle Marsh Reservation.
The AG’s lawsuit also alleges that Scata violated the Commonwealth’s hazardous waste law by failing to assess and remediate the gasoline-contaminated soil and groundwater at his property, even after entering into an administrative consent order with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) to do so in 2006. The property is located adjacent to the Belle Isle Marsh Reservation, an area of ecologically valuable, state-owned salt marsh that is managed by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR).
According to the complaint, at some point prior to April 2010, Scata also dumped – or allowed others to dump – three large piles of construction and demolition debris from his property in a wetland buffer area of the Belle Isle Marsh Reservation, in violation of state wetlands and solid waste law. The complaint also alleges that Scata improperly stored waste oil at his property in 2010 in non-compliance with state hazardous waste management requirements.
The Belle Isle Marsh is Boston’s last remaining salt marsh and part of the Rumney Marshes Area of Critical Environmental Concern that, according to the complaint, serves as a nursery for fish and shellfish and provides critical habitat to many locally rare salt marsh plants and wildlife, including at least five species of birds state-listed as endangered, threatened, or of special concern. The marshes also provide vitally important flood damage prevention to the surrounding human communities, as alleged in the complaint.
The AG’s Office is seeking an order requiring Scata to complete assessment and remediation of the soil and groundwater contamination at his property as well as any other areas to which the contamination may have migrated. The complaint also requests an order requiring Scata to remove the three piles of construction and demolition debris in the Belle Isle Marsh that allegedly originated from his property.
Finally, the AG’s Office has asked the court to assess civil penalties against Scata for his ongoing violations of the state hazardous waste, solid waste, and wetlands laws, and to require him to pay approximately $10,000 in MassDEP compliance fees and response costs, as well as the administrative penalties, that he currently owes the Commonwealth.
Assistant Attorney General Tracy Triplett of AG Coakley’s Environmental Protection Division is handling the case with the assistance of MassDEP attorney Jennifer Davis, along with Timothy Dame of MassDEP’s Environmental Strike Force and Karen Stromberg of MassDEP’s Northeast Regional Office.