In many older homes, asbestos-containing materials were used for insulation of furnace/stove piping and associated ductwork. In some homes, asbestos-containing cementious siding materials and shingles were used. In either case, the inappropriate removal and disposal of these materials could expose you or your neighbors to cancer-causing asbestos fibers. For that reason, there are strict regulations on how these materials must be handled, and where they can go. Contact the MassDEP Service Center for more information and details if you are planning renovations that will involve disturbance or removal of these materials. Note that the unpermitted removal and disposal of asbestos materials is not only illegal, but may also result in the creation of a "hazardous waste" site that would fall under the jurisdiction of MGL c. 21E and the Massachusetts Contingency Plan - and necessitate an expensive cleanup.
Do-it-yourself auto maintenance and repair can save you time and money, but you should be careful with used motor oil, dirty oil filters, antifreeze, dead batteries and other automotive wastes. Handled or discarded improperly, they can pose serious risks to your health and environment. This page provides information on how to properly dispose of used oil and filters, antifreeze, batteries and tires.
Flood Cleanup and Recovery
Links to MassDEP and other webpages containing information that will help homeowners, municipal officials and others deal with cleanup and recovery following a flood.
Lead in Soils
Lead poisoning is one of the top environmental health threats to children. Over time, exposure to even low levels of lead can affect a child's growth, behavior, and learning ability. Children under six years of age are particularly vulnerable to lead poisoning.
If your private well has been contaminated by oil or hazardous material you should contact MassDEP Emergency Response at (888) 304-1133 and your Local Board of Health office immediately. Click on the link below for general information on private well guidance material, model Board of Health's regulations, urban area wells, well yield estimating, and frequently asked questions.
Septic systems, and especially cesspools and drywells, are direct routes to the environment. NEVER discharge gasoline, oils or chemicals into these systems. Not only is this illegal, but it has the potential to contaminate soil and groundwater, and create a "hazardous waste" site that will be very costly to clean up. Of particular concern are chlorinated solvents, like trichloroethylene (TCE), trichloroethane (TCE) or perchloroethylene ("perc") - some of which were in the past marketed as drain cleaners. These chemicals are heavier than water, and will "sink" if discharged to the groundwater. They are also resistant to biological breakdown, and can travel great distances (up to a mile or more) in the groundwater. BWSC is aware of a number of neighborhood communities where private drinking water wells have been impacted (or shut down) because of contamination that likely came from septic system/dry well discharges.