- Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection
Media Contact for MassDEP Penalizes Owner of the Ocean Grove Portuguese Steakhouse Site in Swansea for Wetlands Violations
Joseph Ferson, Public Affairs Office
BOSTON — The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) today announced it has issued a $23,200 penalty to Mario Louriero, owner of property at 317 Ocean Grove Avenue in Swansea, for Wetlands Protection Act violations. MassDEP inspected the Ocean Grove Portuguese Steakhouse property on July 14, 2020 and determined work had been conducted in a wetland resource area without a valid permit.
Among the wetlands violations were the construction of a revetment or retaining wall that had impacted 110 linear feet of coastal bank, as well as 200 square feet of salt marsh, resulting in adverse impacts to the resource areas. Prior to MassDEP’s inspection, the Swansea Conservation Commission had issued enforcement orders on November 26, 2019, and January 20, 2020, both of which the property owner failed to comply with.
“In Massachusetts, those who work in an area where valuable wetlands resource are present have a responsibility under the law to bring a proposal forward publicly before any work is done,” said Millie Garcia-Serrano, Director of MassDEP Southeast Regional Office in Lakeville. “Before proceeding, a Notice of Intent to the local Conservation Commission needs to be submitted in order to avoid costly damages, restoration work, and penalties.”
Louriero is required to retain the services of a professional engineer to assess the structural integrity of the revetment – or coastal engineering structure – and denote areas of impact on the salt marsh. An environmental scientist will also be retained to assess the impact on the coastal bank and salt marsh and detail the areas that have been altered.
Thereafter, those plans will be presented to the Swansea Conservation Commission and MassDEP for any modification to the existing structure so that the structure is properly-sized, provides runoff control, and has buffer of native vegetation at the top of the coastal bank. All work not specifically approved will require the removal of unauthorized structures and full restoration of the impacted areas. A total of $11,600 of the $23,200 penalty will be suspended if all terms of the consent order are met.
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