Wrentham Company to Pay $150,000 to Settle Allegations It Illegally Transported and Stockpiled Hazardous Waste
Explosive, Flammable, and Corrosive Wastes Moved to its Unlicensed Facility and Stored Without Taking Required Safety Precautions or Notifying Authorities
BOSTON – A Wrentham-based waste transport company will pay $150,000 in civil penalties to settle allegations that it illegally transported hazardous waste and stored it at the company’s unlicensed facility, Attorney General Maura Healey announced today.
The defendant, EQ Northeast Inc., transports hazardous waste from large retail stores and pharmacies across the Northeast to licensed disposal facilities in Michigan and Oklahoma. According to the complaint, filed in Suffolk Superior Court Friday along with the consent judgment, the AG’s Office alleges that, on at least 10 occasions, EQ Northeast Inc. illegally transported hazardous waste shipments to its Wrentham facility rather than directly to the licensed designated facilities in Michigan and Oklahoma, as required by the Hazardous Waste Management Act.
The company allegedly stockpiled a large volume of hazardous waste in a single tractor trailer at its Wrentham facility without a storage license from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), without taking required safety precautions, and without notifying state authorities, as MassDEP regulations require. The hazardous waste included highly corrosive acids, aerosols, flammables, oxidizers, explosives, and other acutely hazardous wastes.
“Companies that transport hazardous waste are expected to comply with rules that protect public safety and the environment,” AG Healey said. “By illegally unloading and storing different types of hazardous waste at an unlicensed site, this defendant created a significant risk to the environment and a risk of fire, explosion, or violent reaction threatening public safety.”
“MassDEP works to ensure that human health, public safety and the environment are protected when hazardous waste is managed and stored,” said MassDEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg. “To that end, we will continue to work with our partners so that applicable regulations are followed, and identify for appropriate enforcement those who violate the law.”
The AG’s complaint also alleges that by avoiding compliance and permitting fees and transport costs, EQ Northeast gained a substantial economic benefit and enjoyed an unfair advantage over its competitors who act in compliance with Massachusetts laws and regulations. EQ Northeast also allegedly failed to disclose to authorities and its Massachusetts retail store customers that the hazardous waste would not be transported directly to a licensed, designated facility. The AG’s Office alleges that this deceptive conduct violated the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act because, if the company had disclosed where it would transport the waste, its customers would have avoided doing business with the company.
Assistant Attorney General Jillian Riley of Attorney General Healey’s Environmental Protection Division handled the case with the assistance of MassDEP attorney Daniel d’Hedouville of the Office of General Counsel, and MassDEP Environmental Engineers Daniel DiSalvio and Michael Whiteside.