- Office of Attorney General Maura Healey
- Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection
Media Contact for Town Fair Tire Settles Allegations of Illegal Asbestos Work During Expansion of Springfield Store
BOSTON — Town Fair Tire Centers of Massachusetts LLC (Town Fair Tire) will pay $81,000 in penalties to settle allegations that its employees illegally removed and disposed of asbestos-containing material during the expansion of the company’s Springfield store, Attorney General Maura Healey announced today.
The complaint and consent judgment, entered Tuesday in Suffolk Superior Court, settles a lawsuit filed by the AG’s Office that alleges Town Fair Tire violated the state’s clean air and solid waste management laws by unlawfully removing asbestos-containing insulation while renovating the company’s store on Boston Road in Springfield.
“Shoddy and unlicensed asbestos removal endangers workers and the public,” said AG Healey. “Our office enforces the law to protect residents from the serious health risks of asbestos.”
“Asbestos contained in thermal system insulation presents a significant risk to the health of workers and the general public,” said Michael Gorski, director of the Springfield regional office of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP). “We will continue to work with the Attorney General’s Office to pursue asbestos violations such as those presented by this case.”
The AG’s complaint alleges that Town Fair Tire employees removed asbestos-containing insulation from HVAC pipes and a boiler during the company’s store expansion in 2016, and disposed of the asbestos-containing material in unsecured commercial waste dumpsters behind the store. According to the complaint, Town Fair Tire employees left the asbestos-containing material in and around the dumpsters for approximately two months. The asbestos waste was later removed by a licensed asbestos contractor.
Under the terms of the settlement, Town Fair Tire paid $81,000 in penalties to the state and will publish notifications in the New England Real Estate Journal to inform the public about the need to strictly follow the state’s requirements for asbestos abatement projects to protect the public and workers from the dangers of asbestos exposure.
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, 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 develop 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, announced in March 2017, which seeks 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, with the assistance of MassDEP, has successfully brought asbestos enforcement cases that together have resulted in more than $2.2 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 Andrew Goldberg, of AG Healey’s Environmental Protection Division, with assistance from MassDEP Environmental Analyst John Moriarty and Chief Regional Counsel Christine LeBel, both from MassDEP’s Western Regional Office.