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EPA Settles with Town of Natick over Environmental Violations

Release Date: 11/27/2001
Contact Information: Mark Merchant, EPA Press Office (617) 918-1013

BOSTON – The town of Natick today agreed to pay a $56,775 cash penalty and perform supplemental environmental projects worth at least $211,344 to settle claims by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that the city violated hazardous waste and clean water laws at a town department of public works facility.

The DPW garage was targeted for inspection as part of an initiative focusing on compliance by public agencies with environmental laws.

"The EPA expects all towns and cities to follow federal and state environmental laws," said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA's New England office. "It also is important for municipalities to set a positive example for others by reducing pollution and increasing public safety while ensuring that the town achieves and exceeds environmental compliance."

As a result of the initial action against Natick, EPA's New England office has developed an initiative for municipal DPWs with the New England Chapter of the American Public Works Association The initiative encourages all DPWs in New England to audit themselves, disclose and correct violations of environmental statutes. So far, approximately 270 such facilities have signed on to participate in this initiative program.

Today's agreement stems from numerous violations discovered during an inspection May 25, 1999, at the town's DPW vehicle maintenance, storage garages and recycling center located at 75 West St. The complaint alleges 11 claims of hazardous waste management violations and one claim of violating the Clean Water Act.

The most serious violations were discovered in a shed located next to a wetland where inspectors found hundreds of containers of waste paint, paint thinners, waste oil, pesticides and many unknown materials being stored on the ground.

The area where the shed was located was also identified as a possible habitat for two state-protected wildlife species, the Mystic Valley Amphipod and Spotted Turtle. The materials had apparently been there for years without any controls or management.

In addition to the cash penalties for these violations, Natick has agreed to implement a town-wide pollution prevention plan and an environmentally preferable purchasing plan. The goal is to reduce the amount of chemicals the town purchases and to reduce the amount of hazardous wastes generated by Natick.

The town will also conduct an assessment of a contaminated area at the 22-acre Pegan Cove Park. Natick wants to expand the use of the park, so an environmental assessment is necessary.

For more information about EPA's compliance initiatives, visit: http://www.epa.gov/region1/enforcement/