Northborough Man Found Guilty for Multiple Environmental Violations in Connection with Operating Illegal Dump
WORCESTER — A Northborough man has been found guilty in connection with multiple environmental violations for the operation of an illegal dumping site, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced today.
Today, following a seven-day bench trial in Worcester Superior Court, Santo Anza, Jr., age 52, of Northborough, was found guilty by Superior Court Judge Richard T. Tucker on the charges of violating the Massachusetts Clean Air Act (3 counts) and violating the Massachusetts Solid Waste Act (8 counts). Judge Tucker scheduled a sentencing hearing for August 22 in Worcester Superior Court.
Anza operated an illegal dump for solid waste on his Whitney Street property in Northborough. The dump site polluted the air and created a public nuisance by emitting rotten odors that annoyed and sickened neighbors.
In October 2010, Anza applied for and was granted a composting registration from the Department of Agricultural Resources (DAR). In March 2011, Anza applied for a renewal of the composting registration from DAR. A site visit in connection with the application for renewal showed little agricultural activity. Anza used the site not as a farm, but instead as a dump for spoiled and rotting food, non-food waste, street sweepings, and other materials. Anza was granted temporary registration provided that he brought the site into compliance.
After his temporary certificate expired in April 2011, Anza continued to accept over 2 million pounds of food waste without a valid site assignment. According to authorities, during the summer months of June, July, and August 2011, the operations at the property emitted strong and repulsive odors into a nearby residential neighborhood on repeated occasions, at times forcing the neighbors to stay indoors.
After an extensive investigation, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) referred this matter to the Attorney General’s Office in September 2011. On October 7, the Attorney General’s Environmental Protection Division obtained a preliminary injunction against Anza prohibiting him from accepting solid waste and compostable material on his property and providing relief to neighbors who had to live with the odors and noise emanating from the property.
The criminal charges were the result of a joint investigation by personnel from MassDEP and DAR, agencies overseen by Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rick Sullivan. MassDEP and DAR staff worked closely with prosecutors from the Attorney General’s Environmental Crimes Strike Force, an interagency unit that is overseen by AG Coakley, Secretary Sullivan and MassDEP Commissioner Kenneth Kimmell. The Strike Force comprises prosecutors from the Attorney General’s Office, Environmental Police Officers assigned to the Attorney General’s Office, and investigators and engineers from the MassDEP who investigate and prosecute crimes that harm or threaten the state’s water, air, or land and that pose a significant threat to human health.
A Worcester County Grand Jury returned indictments against Anza on December 14, 2011. Anza was arraigned in Worcester Superior Court on January 18, 2012. He was found guilty today by Judge Tucker on 11 environmental violations. A sentencing hearing has been scheduled for August 22.
Members of the public who have information regarding a potential environmental crime are encouraged to contact the MassDEP Environmental Strike Force Hotline at 1-888-VIOLATE (846-5283) or the Attorney General’s Office at 617-727-2200.
Assistant Attorneys General Andrew Rainer and Peter Downing of AG Coakley’s Environmental Crimes Strike Force prosecuted this case with assistance from MassDEP and DAR. The case was investigated by MassDEP attorney MaryJude Pigsley and staffers Andrea Briggs, Lynne Welsh, Mike Penny, Greg Root, Paul Dwiggins, Jim McQuade and Michelle Delemarre. Staff from the Division of Animal Health and the Legal Department of DAR also assisted in the case.