For Immediate Release - November 07, 2013

MassDEP Orders Northampton Commercial Property Owner to Pay $15,000 Penalty, Complete Site Response Actions

BOSTON - The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) has assessed a $15,000 penalty to Don Lia for violations of waste site cleanup regulations concerning a property in Northampton.

Mr. Lia was penalized for his failure to maintain site conditions necessary to prevent exposure to contaminated soil and evaluate the risk of exposure to contaminated soil by all potential parties. The vacant site, located at 171-187 King Street in Northampton, requires maintenance of pavement to prevent exposure to the underlying contaminated soil.

An audit of the site work conducted by MassDEP determined that Mr. Lia failed to demonstrate and maintain conditions considered protective of human health. Also, the potential risk of exposure to contaminated soil by utility workers was not evaluated. MassDEP staff inspected the site and also observed that the existing pavement necessary to prevent exposure to underlying contaminated soil was not being maintained.

MassDEP issued a Notice of Noncompliance (NON) to Mr. Lia that outlined the violations and provided a schedule that would return the site to compliance. However, Mr. Lia failed to respond to the NON, so MassDEP issued a consent order. Following negotiations with Mr. Lia, MassDEP assessed the $15,000 penalty, but has agreed to suspend $5,000 of the penalty and required Mr. Lia to evaluate potential risks to utility workers and to repair the pavement.

"MassDEP is pleased that this agreement with Mr. Lia will ensure implementation of and compliance with environmental obligations for this important Brownfields property in Northampton," said Michael Gorski, director of MassDEP's Western Regional Office in Springfield. "It is imperative that site conditions are maintained to ensure protection of public health and the environment pending future redevelopment of this parcel."

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.