For Immediate Release - January 22, 2016

Operator Of Sudbury Nursing Home And Day Care Center To Pay $50,000 To Settle Claims Of Illegal Releases Of Untreated Sewage

Settlement Requires Defendants to Construct a Wastewater Treatment System by December 2016

BOSTON — The owner of a Sudbury nursing home and childcare center will pay $50,000 to settle allegations that she failed to repair and upgrade the deteriorating septic system serving the facilities, Attorney General Maura Healey announced today. 

According to a consent judgment, approved Thursday by Suffolk Superior Court Judge Douglas Wilkins, Roberta C. Henderson has agreed to have a modern wastewater treatment system constructed at the property by Dec. 1, 2016. Henderson owns Sudbury Pines Extended Care Facility, a 92-bed nursing home, and Kids Corner at the Pines, a day care center for children.

The Attorney General’s Office filed the lawsuit in March 2014 after Henderson failed to construct a new sewage disposal system as required by a permit issued by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), despite an overflow of untreated sewage from the septic system to the facility’s grounds.

            “We allege this defendant put the health of this facility’s staff, elderly residents and children at risk by failing to prevent the overflow of untreated sewage on-site,” AG Healey said. “Today’s settlement requires a much-needed upgrade to this septic system. Our office is committed to enforcing environmental laws put in place to protect the health of the public and the environment.”

            “This case was brought to protect public health,” said MassDEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg.  “Today’s decision underscores the need for non-compliant facilities to take action.” 

The court previously issued a preliminary injunction agreed to by both parties in March 2014 requiring Henderson to put interim measures in place to prevent further overflows of sewage. Henderson ultimately made repairs to the system in accordance with that order, and there have been no overflows from the system since January 2014.

Today’s consent judgment requires Henderson to obtain MassDEP approval of a final design plan for a new wastewater treatment system plan by March 1, 2016. It also requires Henderson to begin construction by May 1, 2016.

Under the terms of the settlement, $30,000 will be paid to the Commonwealth within three months, and the remaining $20,000 is to be paid within a year after the new treatment system is completed.

The lawsuit alleged that Henderson knew for years that the septic system serving Sudbury Pines and the Kids Corner did not comply with environmental laws. It also alleged that in early January 2014, the septic system discharged untreated sewage to walkways and a parking lot, all of which are adjacent to a playground and an entrance to the day care.

This case was handled by Assistant Attorney General Tracy Triplett from AG Healey’s Environmental Protection Division with assistance from Dorothy Montouris and Heidi Zisch of MassDEP’s Office of General Counsel and MassDEP engineers Kevin Brander and Gregory Tomaszewski.