Under Settlement, Company Will Pay Up to $225,000
Special to the Leader Herald
An Everett construction company and its president will pay up to $225,000 in civil penalties, properly train its employees on asbestos work and report regularly to the state to settle claims that they conducted illegal work on asbestos water mains in Everett and Braintree and unlawfully stored waste contaminated by asbestos at a facility in Revere, Attorney General Andrea Joy Campbell announced today.
The consent judgment, filed and entered in Suffolk Superior Court, resolves a lawsuit the AG’s Office filed in July alleging that GTA Co., Inc. and its president, Gregory T. Antonelli, violated the state’s Clean Air Act and Solid Waste Management Act when they removed and demolished asbestos-containing municipal water pipes without complying with required asbestos abatement work practices as part of the water main replacement projects in Everett and Braintree.
“By conducting unsafe and illegal asbestos work, these companies put the health of the community – including the health of their own workers – at serious risk,” said AG Campbell. “I’m proud of the work our office did to hold this company accountable for their actions – and we will continue to take on any company that harms our environment or violates workplace safety laws.”
The AG’s Office alleges that GTA and Antonelli left the excavated uncontained asbestos-contaminated pipes and debris on the ground and in open dumpsters in Everett and Braintree. The AG’s complaint also alleges that they arranged for the transport of asbestos-contaminated waste that they failed to safely contain from the Everett projects, and the illegal storage of the waste at a site in Revere, further endangering public health in the process.
This case was referred to the AG’s Office by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP).
“Asbestos can have serious health impacts for both workers and the general public when it is handled improperly,” said MassDEP Acting Commissioner Gary Moran. “MassDEP remains vigilant in our efforts to protect public health by ensuring compliance with requirements regarding the handling, removal and disposal of asbestos. 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.”
Under the terms of the consent judgment, GTA and Antonelli will pay up to $225,000 in civil penalties, $50,000 of which will be suspended pending compliance with the settlement. For two years, GTA is also required to notify MassDEP weekly of any upcoming projects that will involve asbestos abatement and provide a trained supervisor if the work is performed by GTA. GTA will also train any employees who worked on the Everett and Braintree projects how to properly and safely work with asbestos. For the next two years, GTA must also have at least one trained supervising employee present at projects where it conducts asbestos work.
Asbestos is a mineral fiber that is 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 and long-term disease 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 show up until many years after exposure, and that has no known cure, although treatment methods are available to address the effects of the disease.
This case is being handled by Assistant Attorney General David Wittenberg and Senior Enforcement Counsel Lou Dundin, both of the AG’s Energy and Environment Bureau, with assistance from MassDEP Senior Regional Counsel Colleen McConnell, Deputy Regional Director of the Bureau of Air and Waste John MacAuley, Investigator Steve Spencer of Mass- DEP’s Environmental Strike Force, and Asbestos Program Environmental Analyst Peter Seward of MassDEP’s Northeastern Regional Office in Woburn, and Asbestos Program Section Chief Cynthia Baran and former Asbestos Program Environmental Analyst Jeffrey Finnegan of MassDEP’s Southeastern Regional Office in Lakeville.