Judge Orders Owner of Falmouth Commercial Property to Pay $25,000 Fine for Failing to Complete Cleanup
BOSTON - A Suffolk Superior Court judge ordered the owner of a commercial property in Falmouth to pay a $25,000 fine for failing to complete the environmental cleanup of an estimated 100 gallons of heating oil that was released at 847 Main Street dating back to November 1, 1999. Falmouth resident Gordon Lauzon had ignored orders issued by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) that required him to complete the assessment and cleanup work at the property in the years prior to February of 2008.
"Ignoring legal responsibility for cleaning up reportable releases of oil or hazardous material is potentially more damaging to the environment, and makes it more costly in the long run," said Phil Weinberg, director of MassDEP's Southeast Regional Office in Lakeville. "Responsible parties need to recognize that pollution impacts others through soil and groundwater, and that the Commonwealth will aggressively pursue those who try to ignore or evade this responsibility."
Initial cleanup actions, which included excavation and disposal of approximately 30 tons of contaminated soil and 1,000 gallons of oil-contaminated groundwater, were conducted at the time of the initial release. However, these activities were not sufficient to document that the entire oil spill had been fully assessed and remediated. Later, Lauzon filed documentation that committed to completing the work at the site in a timely manner. Lauzon failed to conduct those required response actions.
Under the settlement, Lauzon must pay the $25,000 penalty to the Commonwealth for ignoring MassDEP's cleanup order and for violating the Massachusetts Oil and Hazardous Material Release Prevention and Response Act. In addition, the settlement requires Lauzon to complete the assessment and cleanup work required by state law.
The Office of Attorney General Martha Coakley helped to bring this case to settlement, along with staffers from MassDEP's Lakeville office, Deputy Regional Director Millie Garcia-Serrano, Environmental Analyst John Handrahan, and Senior Regional Counsel Rebecca Tobin.
MassDEP is responsible for ensuring clean air and water, safe management and recycling of solid and hazardous wastes, timely cleanup of hazardous waste sites and spills, and the preservation of wetlands and coastal resources.