For Immediate Release - March 04, 2014

Owner of Sudbury Nursing Home and Day Care Center Sued for Failing to Repair Overflowing Septic System

Court Order Requires Measures to Control Untreated Sewage Discharge

BOSTON – The owner of a combined residential nursing home and childcare center in Sudbury has been sued after failing to repair and upgrade the deteriorating septic system serving the facilities, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced today. 

The complaint, filed in Suffolk Superior Court against Roberta C. Henderson, the Sudbury Pines Extended Care Facility, Inc. and Henderson Houses of America, Inc., alleges that despite the continued failure of the septic system and recent overflows of untreated sewage to the facility’s grounds, she has refused to construct a new sewage disposal system as required by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP). Following a joint motion, a preliminary injunction was entered in court requiring Henderson to put interim measures in place to control the sewage overflow.

“Despite repeated warnings to upgrade this septic system, this defendant has refused to comply with our environmental laws designed to protect the public and the environment,” AG Coakley said. “We are committed to enforcing these laws to protect the health of the facility’s staff, elderly residents, and children.”

“The Commonwealth needed to initiate this step today to address the longstanding violations of the facility’s groundwater discharge permit,” said MassDEP Commissioner Kenneth Kimmell. “The owner needs to take corrective action, now, to prevent a serious public health risk posed by this failing on-site sewage disposal system.”   

The complaint seeks civil penalties for violation of the Commonwealth’s environmental laws, along with a court order to construct a new sewage disposal system at the property.  The recent court order requires Henderson to regularly pump the septic tanks, hire a licensed septic system installer to perform emergency repairs, and allow monthly inspections.

According to the complaint, Henderson has known for years that the septic system serving the Sudbury Pines Extended Care Facility and the Kids Corner at the Pines day care center, does not comply with environmental laws. The complaint also alleges that in early January 2014, the septic system discharged untreated sewage to walkways and a parking lot at the facility, all of which are adjacent to a playground and an entrance to the day care facility. Due to inadequate pumping and maintenance, one of the system’s three subsurface septic tanks continues to be at risk of overflowing to the facility’s grounds.  

Assistant Attorney General Tracy Triplett from Attorney General Coakley’s Environmental Protection Division is handling this case, along with AG Coakley’s Civil Investigation Division, with assistance from Dorothy Montouris of MassDEP’s Office of General Counsel and MassDEP engineers Kevin Brander and Gregory Tomaszewski.

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