- Office of Attorney General Maura Healey
Media Contact for Four Companies Settle Claims of Illegal Asbestos Work During Renovations at Greater Lowell Technical High School
Boston — The general contractor and two environmental monitoring companies hired to renovate Greater Lowell Technical High School in Tyngsborough will pay up to $300,000 in penalties to settle allegations regarding illegal asbestos work at the school during renovations, Attorney General Maura Healey announced today. The project’s asbestos abatement company will also forfeit its licenses to perform asbestos work.
The consent judgments, entered today in Suffolk Superior Court, settle a lawsuit filed by the AG’s Office in December 2016 against R.M. Technologies, Inc., the Lawrence company hired to abate asbestos during the school renovation. In September, the AG’s Office filed an amended complaint, adding allegations against the general contractor of the renovation project, Consigli Construction Company, Inc., and the two companies hired to monitor the asbestos abatement work, Universal Environmental Consultants, Inc. and Hub Testing Laboratory, Inc.
“Companies that are paid to address asbestos must carefully comply with environmental and safety regulations and take their work seriously, especially when they are working in places where children will be present,” said AG Healey. “Our office will take action to protect the health of workers and children when companies fail to live up to their legal responsibilities.”
The AG’s lawsuit alleges that the companies violated the state’s clean air law and regulations in 2014 and 2015, when R.M. Technologies workers failed to properly and safely remove and handle asbestos-containing material from the building and failed to dispose of all of the asbestos-containing waste material at the school.
R.M. Technologies allegedly left pieces of asbestos-containing pegboard as well as other dust and debris behind after performing abatement work in the school. The complaint also states that R.M. Technologies used alternative abatement methods without authorization by the Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) and performed abatement work on several occasions without supervision by a monitor.
Consigli Construction Company and Universal Environmental Consultants had oversight over R.M. Technologies and failed to prevent the violations, according to the complaint. Hub Testing Laboratories also allegedly failed to secure authorization from MassDEP before allowing R.M. Technologies to use the alternative abatement methods.
Asbestos is a mineral fiber that is 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, long-term non-cancer disease of the lungs 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 has made asbestos safety a priority, as part of the office’s “Healthy Buildings, Healthy Air” Initiative that was announced in March to better protect the health of children, families, and workers in Massachusetts from health risks posed by asbestos. Since September 2016, the AG’s Office has successfully brought asbestos enforcement cases that together have resulted in up to nearly $1.5 million in civil penalties.
For more information on asbestos and asbestos-related work, visit MassDEP’s website outlining asbestos construction and demolition notification requirements.
This case was handled by Assistant Attorney General Louis Dundin of AG Healey’s Environmental Protection Division.