Owner of Large Commercial Environmental Testing Laboratory Fined for Alleged Violations of Hazardous Waste Laws
AG’s Office Says Company Ignored Compliance Obligations Under Prior Court Judgment
BOSTON — A Marlborough-based laboratory company that performs commercial-scale environmental testing has been fined $100,000 for violating the terms of court judgment settling prior allegations that it failed to obtain required state permits and control its hazardous air pollutant emissions, Attorney General Maura Healey announced today.
The previous judgment, which was entered in May 2014, required that Accutest Laboratories of New England, Inc. (Accutest) follow the state’s hazardous waste management laws and regulations at its Marlborough analytical laboratory facility. The AG’s Office now is alleging the company failed to make improvements at its facility to bring the company into compliance.
“This company ignored the terms of a court judgment,” said AG Healey. “We expect defendants in all cases, including companies caught violating environmental laws that protect public health and natural resources, to take their compliance obligations seriously. My office will be vigilant in enforcing judgments when they do not.”
As part of the new settlement, reflected in an amendment to the consent judgment approved by Suffolk Superior Court Judge Bonnie MacLeod, Accutest must retain a qualified Environmental, Health and Safety Officer (EHS), whose principal function will be to direct the company on compliance with the state’s environmental laws and regulations, for at least the remaining three-and-a-half-year term of the consent judgment.
“Meeting hazardous waste management requirements is essential,” said Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Martin Suuberg. “The requirement for an EHS officer in this agreement is an important step toward ensuring future compliance.”
Accutest performs commercial-scale environmental sample analyses for private and state clients. In May 2014, Accutest was fined $350,000 for failing to obtain required state permits before emitting large quantities of hazardous air pollutants (HAP) from its laboratory facility in violation of state air pollution control laws. The company violated the state Hazardous Waste Management Act and its implementing regulations by underreporting to the Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) the extent of hazardous wastes it was generating. The consent judgment required the company to obtain a new air permit and to install emission control equipment to reduce HAP emissions by 95 percent.
During routine inspections that began in October of 2014, MassDEP discovered that Accutest was taking appropriate steps to comply with air permitting requirements, but allegedly had done nothing to bring its facility into compliance with the state’s hazardous waste law.
MassDEP found that the company was improperly storing hazardous waste for longer than permitted and that it was overcrowding its storage area. The agency also discovered that Accutest was violating hazardous waste container labeling requirements and that it was not storing waste containers as required to prevent and contain leaks. The AG’s Office is also alleging that Accutest was inadequately addressing emergency prevention at its facility in the event of an accident. The company also failed to conduct hazardous waste training for its personnel.
Accutest has brought its facility into compliance with regulatory requirements.
The case has been handled by Assistant Attorney General Fred Augenstern of Attorney General Healey’s Environmental Protection Division, with assistance from MassDEP staff of the Central Regional Office, including: Maria L'Annunziata, Stephen Majkut, MaryJude Pigsley, Rose Stanley, John Kronopolus, and Anne Blackman.