For Immediate Release - May 17, 2017

MassDEP Penalizes Wilbraham Property Owner $29,960 for Numerous Environmental Violations at Cottage Avenue Mill Complex

BOSTON - The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection has assessed a $29,960 penalty on Wilbraham Land and Development, LLC, (WL&D) for failing to address numerous violations of Massachusetts environmental regulations identified at its Wilbraham property in the fall of 2016. WL&D is a Boston-based corporation that owns the property, a mill complex located at 176 Cottage Avenue.

MassDEP personnel performed inspections of the mill complex on October 27, 2016 and November 4, 2016 in response to an anonymous complaint regarding the presence of friable asbestos-containing materials at the property in poor condition. The inspections confirmed violations of state asbestos regulations, including improperly covered thermal system insulation (TSI), pieces of TSI on the boiler room floor, and the improper storage of removed asbestos-containing materials. A number of asbestos transite pipes were also stored at the facility.

Also found in the buildings were abandoned containers of unknown liquids, potentially hazardous waste or waste oil, piles of solid waste debris, including numerous scrap automobiles, tires, piles of construction and demolition debris and metal drums. A number of fluorescent bulbs and ballasts had been improperly disposed of with conventional solid waste. Finally, a leaking oil supply line was identified in the boiler room, with significant amounts of absorbent materials on the basement floor to collect and contain this oil.   

MassDEP issued an order on December 16, 2016, and set a schedule for WL&D to correct the violations, develop a universal waste management plan, and investigate a potential abandoned fuel oil storage tank located below the boiler room floor. WL&D did not respond to or appeal the order. A follow-up inspection performed by MassDEP indicated that only limited actions had been taken by WL&D to address the requirements of the original order.

Prior to issuing the penalty, MassDEP requested that WL&D attend an enforcement conference to discuss the violations in an attempt to negotiate a consent order with a mutually agreeable schedule for addressing the violations. WL&D failed to attend the scheduled enforcement conference, resulting in MassDEP issuing the penalty of $29,960.

"MassDEP has made numerous attempts to assist Wilbraham Land and Development in complying with Massachusetts environmental regulations," said Michael Gorski, director of MassDEP's Western Regional Office in Springfield. "It is regrettable that the failure to work cooperatively to address the necessary cleanup of the former mill complex has resulted in the assessment of this penalty. This could have been avoided."

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.                                               

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