- Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection
Media Contact for MassDEP, Shrewsbury Police Department Penalize Worcester Landscaping Company, Worcester Men for Illegal Solid Waste Dumping
Edmund Coletta, MassDEP – Director of Public Affairs
BOSTON — The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) and the Town of Shrewsbury Police Department have resolved three cases of illegal dumping in the Bow Street area of Shrewsbury. MassDEP hidden cameras caught 12 individuals dumping debris such as concrete, trash, furniture, mattresses, asphalt, and other construction materials. Three cases resulted in penalties and cleanup and disposal action; cases against nine other individuals are pending in Westborough District Court.
“Illegal dumping is not a victimless crime and won’t be tolerated in Massachusetts,” said MassDEP Commissioner Bonnie Heiple. “Improperly disposing of construction debris or solid waste threatens drinking water supplies, impairs habitats, and harms our communities. I’m grateful for the collaboration and creativity of our Environmental Crimes Strike Force and law enforcement partners to ensure violations like this are identified and rectified.”
“We want residents to know that the Shrewsbury Police Department is taking this issue seriously. This area has historically been prone to illegal dumping, and we are taking steps to hold violators accountable,” said Shrewsbury Police Chief Kevin Anderson. “We are pleased to be working alongside MassDEP to help protect our environment and reduce the demand that this activity has put on taxpayer resources needed to clean up this area.”
In one case, MassDEP’s surveillance cameras recorded two separate dumping incidents (YouTube video) of concrete debris from a truck owned by the R. Nunes Landscaping Corp. of Worcester and operated by an individual wearing a Nunes Landscaping shirt. Two loads of broken, painted concrete blocks were dumped on Bow Street not far from Holden and Clinton streets. This area falls within a Drinking Water Wellhead Protection zone, where it is illegal to disposal of solid waste due to potential negative impacts on drinking water supplies. When informed of the illegal dumping, the president of the company, Ricardo B. Nunes, removed some of the debris and properly disposed of it at a Worcester transfer station.
MassDEP assessed a $6,960 penalty, $2,460 to be paid to the Commonwealth and $3,000 to be utilized in a Supplemental Environmental Project (SEP). The SEP required that Nunes Landscaping provide six to eight hours of labor by three workers to clean, remove, and properly dispose of a couple of truckloads of debris (YouTube video) from the Bow Street area, and that cleanup was completed recently. A portion of the penalty will also be suspended once the fine is paid.
In two additional cases, Worcester resident Angel Ortiz Cruz was photographed on three different occasions dumping truckloads (YouTube video) of predominantly asphalt and concrete at the Bow Street area. Ortiz Cruz pled guilty to illegal dumping and was ordered by the court to pay restitution to the town, in addition to being placed on probation. Another defendant, Joseph Smith of Worcester, pled guilty to illegal dumping (YouTube video) and was ordered to pay restitution to the town.
These cases were handled by investigators Steve Spencer, Tim Dame and Jennifer Macionus, and attorney Jennifer Davis from MassDEP’s Environmental Crimes Strike Force, along with Shrewsbury Police Department Detectives (Sergeant) Michael Cappucci, Kyle Amato, Christopher Abbascia, Brian Thibodeau and Paul Brown, and Nick Repekta and the Shrewsbury DPW Highway Division.
MassDEP’s Environmental Crimes Strike Force operates a hidden camera surveillance program in conjunction with local police and public works departments seeking to deter illegal dumping, protecting the environment and the quality of life in communities across Massachusetts. To report environmental violations to the Strike Force, visit MassDEP’s website.
MassDEP’s mission is to protect and enhance the Commonwealth’s natural resources – air, water and land – to provide for the health, safety and welfare of all people, and to ensure a clean and safe environment for future generations. In carrying out this mission, MassDEP commits to address and advance environmental justice and equity for all people of the Commonwealth; to provide meaningful, inclusive opportunities for people to participate in agency decisions that affect their lives; and to ensure a diverse workforce that reflects the communities we serve.
Note: Video and photographs of these dumping incidents are available at the embedded links or by contacting MassDEP