Pan Am Railways and Boston & Maine Corp. Penalized $60,000 for Railroad Ties
BOSTON - The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) has issued a $59,746.50 penalty to the Boston & Maine Corporation and its parent company, Pan Am Railways, Inc. (Pan Am/B&M Corp.), resolving violations of the Massachusetts Solid Waste Management regulations.
The violations occurred between 2004 and 2007 and involved the disposal of large quantities of old railroad ties along rail lines in the towns of West Boylston, Sterling, Deerfield, and Charlemont. The ties abandoned in West Boylston and Sterling numbered in the thousands and extended over 7.5 miles of track in the watershed for the Wachusett Reservoir. The ties abandoned in Deerfield exposed first-responders to additional safety and health risks when they became involved in a brush fire that engulfed the abandoned rail ties.
These violations led MassDEP to issue a Unilateral Order and a Notice of Intent to Assess a Civil Administrative Penalty in May of 2007. These actions were appealed by Pan Am/B&M Corp. With the assistance of the Office of the Attorney General, MassDEP recently resolved the appeal and the underlying violations through a settlement agreement.
"It is critical that Massachusetts businesses manage their wastes in a manner that is environmentally responsible, compliant with the existing regulations, and does not present an increased risk to public safety," said MassDEP Commissioner Kenneth L. Kimmell. "Protection of public water supplies and their watersheds is of the highest priority to MassDEP and illegally disposing of solid wastes in these sensitive locations will not be tolerated."
The settlement provides that Pan Am/B&M Corp. immediately cease any further disposal of railroad ties and manage used ties in strict conformance with protocols established as part of the company's Environmental Management System. These protocols allow for the temporary staging of used ties along the tracks under certain conditions and for set time periods. These protocols will ensure that used ties that can be recycled will get reused, and that ties that have no future use are removed from the side of the rail lines for appropriate disposal.
As part of the settlement, Pan Am/B&M Corp. will pay a penalty of $49,746.50, with the remaining $10,000 suspended pending the companies' compliance with the terms of the settlement.
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.