Bryan Cohen Feb. 4, 2014, 3:17pm

BOSTON (Legal Newsline) - Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley announced an agreement on Friday with a property owner in Danvers who allegedly failed to clean up soils and sediments at the contaminated site along the Crane River.

Nicholas Decoulos is the owner of land that was formerly the site of the Creese and Cook Tannery, where the former owner operated a leather tanning and finishing operation. The company disposed solid wastes from the manufacturing process in two onsite landfills. Decoulos allegedly violated Massachusetts hazardous waste law by refusing to secure the most dangerous sections of the property, which were being accessed by trespassers.

Decoulos also allegedly violated Massachusetts clean air laws by demolishing a building at the property prior to removing asbestos.

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection alleged that the contemned surface soils in the former landfills on the property and contaminated sediment in the Crane River posed an imminent threat to public health and the environment.

"Strict compliance with the state's hazardous waste laws is essential to protecting the public and environment," Coakley said. "Property owners cannot shift the costs of dealing with contamination at their properties on to taxpayers."

Under the terms of the consent judgment, Decoulos must pay $187,500 in civil penalties and more than $200,000 to reimburse the state for costs related to addressing the decontamination. Decoulos must also continue to maintain fencing and warning signs around the most contaminated areas of the property and regularly inspect the property.

In May, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency listed the Danvers property on the National Priorities List of Superfund sites.

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