Norwell Waste Transport Company Ordered to Pay $112,500 for Transporting Waste Oil From Unregistered Facilities, Submitting Inaccurate Reports to MassDEP
Also Required to Take Additional Steps to Ensure Future Compliance with Environmental Laws Regulating Hazardous Waste Transportation
BOSTON – A Norwell waste transportation company and its affiliate have agreed to pay $112,500 for allegedly transporting waste oil from unregistered facilities and submitting inaccurate reports to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), Attorney General Martha Coakley announced today. The companies will also be required to take additional steps to ensure future compliance with environmental laws regulating the transportation of hazardous waste.
According to the complaint filed in Suffolk Superior Court, Clean Harbors Environmental Services, Inc. (Clean Harbors) of Norwell and its affiliate, Murphy’s Waste Oil Service (Murphy’s) of Woburn, transported hazardous waste, particularly waste oil, from facilities that did not first receive valid identification numbers, as required under environmental law. The complaint also alleges that Clean Harbor and Murphy’s submitted to MassDEP inaccurate electronic monthly operating reports regarding their transportation of hazardous waste.
“We allege that these companies violated environmental laws by accepting and transporting hazardous waste from unregistered facilities,” AG Coakley said. “This resolution imposes a civil penalty for those actions and also requires that these companies be more proactive in ensuring that facilities they accept waste from are registered.”
“Hazardous wastes are handled in Massachusetts under a cradle-to-grave system that is only as good as those companies that accurately report the wastes under their control,” said MassDEP Commissioner Kenneth Kimmell. “From generation to disposal, companies must do the right thing or our health and the environment are threatened. When they fail in their responsibilities, companies will face significant penalties.”
Clean Harbors is a licensed hazardous waste transporter that picks up hazardous waste from customers who generate it and transports it to facilities licensed to accept such waste. In Massachusetts, facilities that generate hazardous waste must first receive a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) identification number or a valid Massachusetts identification number. Transporters of hazardous waste may only accept such waste from facilities that have a valid identification number and must submit monthly operating reports that include detailed information for each shipment of hazardous waste.
According to the complaint, between April 2009 and December 2011, MassDEP identified nearly 500 alleged instances where Clean Harbors and Murphy’s accepted hazardous waste from facilities that did not have valid identification numbers. The complaint also alleges that on numerous occasions the companies submitted inaccurate monthly reports that listed invalid identification numbers or identification numbers that did not correspond with those listed in manifests filed with the MassDEP.
Under the terms of the settlement agreement, the companies will pay a civil penalty in the amount of $112,500 to the Commonwealth. They will pay $75,000 within 15 days of the final settlement, and the remaining amount, $37,500, will be suspended pending their compliance with environmental laws as outlined in the settlement.
Under the settlement, the companies must take steps to ensure that they are only accepting waste from registered facilities. Those steps include providing their drivers with a list from MassDEP of registered facilities so they can verify the identification numbers. Further, the drivers of the companies are now required to supply any facility that does not have an identification number with registration information and a form. Clean Harbors and Murphy’s are then required to submit the completed forms to MassDEP within five days of receiving them.
According to the settlement, the companies are also required to provide training to all current and future employees. The companies must institute penalties for drivers who unlawfully accept hazardous waste from unregistered facilities, including penalties up to $200, and report those violations to MassDEP. Additionally, Clean Harbors and Murphy’s are also required to take steps to ensure that all monthly reports are accurate and complete.
The settlement was approved on Thursday by Judge Edward Leibensperger in Suffolk Superior Court.
This action stems from an investigation by the Massachusetts Environmental Strike Force, an interagency unit which is overseen by AG Coakley, Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rick Sullivan, and MassDEP Commissioner 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.
This case was handled by Assistant Attorney General Andrew Rainer Chief of the AG’s Environmental Crimes Strike Force.
This case was initiated and investigated by MassDEP Northeast Regional Office staffers John MacAuley, Scott Fasulo and Karen Golden-Smith of the Bureau of Waste Prevention and Colleen McConnell of the Office of General Counsel.