- Office of Attorney General Maura Healey
- Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection
Media Contact for Local Companies Settle Claims of Illegal Dumping in Protected Wetlands and Rare Species Habitat
BOSTON — A Dover-based real estate company and a Raynham-based construction company will pay up to $250,000 to settle allegations that they unlawfully dumped, stored, and crushed solid waste in wetlands and rare species habitat in West Bridgewater, Attorney General Maura Healey announced today.
The consent judgments, entered in Suffolk Superior Court, settle a lawsuit the AG’s Office filed in August 2018 alleging that LH Realty LLC and G.E.R. Corporation violated the state’s Wetlands Protection Act, Clean Waters Act, Solid Waste Disposal Act, and Clean Air Act. It also settles claims that LH Realty LLC violated the state Endangered Species Act when it directed G.E.R. Corporation’s employees to illegally dump and crush construction debris and other solid waste in protected wetlands and rare turtle species habitat on its West Bridgewater property, without any required authorizations.
“Illegal dumping of construction debris harms protected areas and poses risks to public health,” AG Healey said. “This settlement will require the defendants to pay to restore damaged wetlands and wildlife habitat.”
The defendants allegedly destroyed nearly 40,000 square feet of known wetlands located within mapped habitat of protected rare turtle species in the Hockomock Swamp, the largest state-designated Area of Critical Environmental Concern in Massachusetts. According to the AG’s Office, authorities also found asbestos-containing waste material and other potentially contaminated-debris throughout piles of solid waste the defendants had dumped and crushed on the site.
Today’s settlements require the defendants to pay up to $250,000 in civil penalties, to clean up all solid waste and potentially contaminated material, and to restore and replicate valuable wetland resources throughout the West Bridgewater property under the oversight of qualified environmental professionals in accordance with plans approved by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) and Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife.
“Wetlands perform critical roles in terms of stormwater control, water filtration and species habitat,” said MassDEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg. “MassDEP will continue to work cooperatively with law enforcement to protect these resources.”
“We are pleased that this settlement will result in the restoration of important wetland habitat for state-listed species, and provide support for conservation measures to benefit state-listed turtles that are increasingly threatened by habitat loss and fragmentation,” said Mark Tisa, Director of the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife.
This case was handled by Assistant Attorney General Turner Smith of AG Healey’s Environmental Protection Division, with the assistance of Chief Regional Counsel Shaun Walsh, Senior Regional Counsel Dan d’Hedouville, Brenda Harper, Gary Makuch and Jim Mahala of the Wetlands Program, and Dan Connick, Colleen Ferguson, and Mark Dakers of the Solid Waste Program of MassDEP’s Southeast Regional Office, and Department of Fish and Game General Counsel Rich Lehan and Endangered Species Review Biologist David Paulson of the DFG’s Division of Fisheries and Wildlife.