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Press Release AG Healey Sues Companies Over Unsafe and Illegal Asbestos Work in Everett, Braintree, and Revere

Files Lawsuit Alleging Illegal Asbestos Work in Everett and Braintree; Unsafe and Illegal Storage and Transportation of Asbestos to Revere Facility
For immediate release:
7/20/2021
  • Office of Attorney General Maura Healey
  • Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection

Media Contact for AG Healey Sues Companies Over Unsafe and Illegal Asbestos Work in Everett, Braintree, and Revere

Chloe Gotsis

BOSTON An Everett construction company and its president have been sued over claims of illegal work on asbestos water mains in Everett and Braintree, along with the Boston and Revere companies that transported the asbestos waste and illegally stored it at their Revere facility, Attorney General Maura Healey announced today.

“We allege that these defendants put the health of the public and their workers at risk by conducting illegal and unsafe asbestos work in the middle of city streets, including in environmental justice communities that already bear disproportionate environmental risks,” said AG Healey. “We will hold accountable people and companies who violate the laws intended to protect the public from this dangerous material.”

The AG’s lawsuit, filed in Suffolk Superior Court Monday, alleges that GTA Co., Inc. and its president, Gregory T. Antonelli, violated the state’s Clean Air Act when they removed and demolished asbestos-containing municipal water pipes without complying with required asbestos work practices as part of the water main replacement projects the City of Everett and the Town of Braintree hired them to complete.

The complaint also alleges that GTA and Antonelli left uncontained asbestos-contaminated debris on the ground and in open dumpsters along Cabot and Marlboro Streets in Everett and along Sheppard Avenue in Braintree, and that they crushed and buried asbestos-contaminated debris along Sheppard Avenue. The lawsuit further alleges that GTA and Antonelli violated the state’s False Claims Act by making misrepresentations to the Town of Braintree about its compliance with contract requirements to comply with environmental laws and asbestos work practices.

This case was referred to the AG’s Office by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP).

“We remain vigilant in our efforts to enforce the important laws regarding asbestos abatement,” said MassDEP Deputy Commissioner Gary Moran. “When asbestos is improperly handled, fibers can be released into the air, potentially resulting in health impacts to workers and the general public. MassDEP strictly regulates the handling, removal, and disposal of asbestos, and provides technical assistance to parties engaged in asbestos abatement, in order to protect the public health. Those who cut corners to save money will be penalized and learn that it is more cost-effective to do it right from the beginning.”

The AG’s complaint also alleges that EZ Disposal Service, Inc. and EZ Disposal & Recycling, LLC, which were hired to transport asbestos debris from the Everett worksite, failed to contain and store the asbestos-contaminated waste safely while transporting it to an EZ Disposal facility in Revere, and that they and the owners of the EZ Disposal facility, Ricmer Properties, Inc., and 413-419 Bremen Street, LLC, unsafely and illegally stored it at that facility in violation of the state’s Clean Air Act.

Asbestos is a mineral fiber that has been used in a wide variety of building materials, from roofing and flooring, to siding and wallboard, to caulking and insulation. If asbestos is improperly handled or maintained, fibers can be released into the air and inhaled, potentially resulting in life-threatening illnesses, including asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma. Asbestosis is a serious, progressive, and long-term disease for which there is no known effective treatment. Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that is found in the thin membranes of the lung, chest, abdomen, and heart, that may not show up until many years after exposure, and that has no known cure, although treatment methods are available to address the effects of the disease.

AG Healey’s Office has made asbestos safety a priority. In November 2019, AG Healey released a report, highlighting the work of her office’s “Healthy Buildings, Healthy Air Initiative” that focuses on combatting harms associated with asbestos by partnering with state agencies to educate the public about asbestos safety, taking action against landlords, contractors, and property owners who break the law and advocating for stronger safety protections at the federal level. Since September 2016, the AG’s Office, with the assistance of MassDEP, has successfully brought asbestos enforcement cases that together have resulted in more than $3.5 million in civil penalties. In her May 2020 brief on the environmental factors that compound the COVID-19 pandemic’s disparate impact on environmental justice communities in Massachusetts, AG Healey identified pursuing enforcement cases in such communities as an important step to address the longstanding impact of environmental injustice on the state’s families.

For more information on asbestos and asbestos-related work, visit MassDEP’s website outlining asbestos construction and demolition notification requirements.

This case is being handled by Assistant Attorney General David Wittenberg and Senior Enforcement Counsel Lou Dundin, both of the AG’s Energy and Environment Bureau, with assistance from MassDEP Senior Regional Counsel Colleen McConnell, Deputy Regional Director of the Bureau of Air and Waste John MacAuley, Investigator Steve Spencer of MassDEP’s Environmental Strike Force, Asbestos Program Environmental Analyst Peter Seward of MassDEP’s Northeastern Regional Office in Wilmington, and Asbestos Program Section Chief Cynthia Baran and former Asbestos Program Environmental Analyst Jeffrey Finnegan of MassDEP’s Southeastern Regional Office in Lakeville.

 

 

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Media Contact for AG Healey Sues Companies Over Unsafe and Illegal Asbestos Work in Everett, Braintree, and Revere

Office of Attorney General Maura Healey 

Attorney General Maura Healey is the chief lawyer and law enforcement officer of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection 

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