State sues local companies for asbestos violations

A.G. says public health at risk with unsafe worksites

An Everett construction company and its president have been sued over claims of illegal work on asbestos water mains in Everett and Braintree, along with the Boston and Revere companies that transported the asbestos waste and illegally stored it at their Revere facility, Attorney General Maura Healey announced today.

“We allege that these defendants put the health of the public and their workers at risk by conducting illegal and unsafe asbestos work in the middle of city streets, including in environmental justice communities that already bear disproportionate environmental risks,” said Healey. “We will hold accountable people and companies who violate the laws intended to protect the public from this dangerous material.”

The AG’s lawsuit, filed in Suffolk Superior Court Monday, alleges that GTA Co., Inc. and its president, Gregory T. Antonelli, violated the state’s Clean Air Act when they removed and demolished asbestos-containing municipal water pipes without complying with required asbestos work practices as part of the water main replacement projects the City of Everett and the Town of Braintree hired them to complete.

The complaint also alleges that GTA and Antonelli left uncontained asbestos-contaminated debris on the ground and in open dumpsters along Cabot and Marlboro Streets in Everett and along Sheppard Avenue in Braintree and that they crushed and buried asbestos-contaminated debris along Sheppard Avenue. The lawsuit further alleges that GTA and Antonelli violated the state’s False Claims Act by making misrepresentations to the Town of Braintree about its compliance with contract requirements to comply with environmental laws and asbestos work practices.

This case was referred to the AG’s Office by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP).

“We remain vigilant in our efforts to enforce the important laws regarding asbestos abatement,” said MassDEP Deputy Commissioner Gary Moran. “When asbestos is improperly handled, fibers can be released into the air, potentially resulting in health impacts to workers and the general public. MassDEP strictly regulates the handling, removal, and disposal of asbestos, and provides technical assistance to parties engaged in asbestos abatement, in order to protect the public health. Those who cut corners to save money will be penalized and learn that it is more cost-effective to do it right from the beginning.”

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