Civil penalty ordered against Mass. company

Bryan Cohen Apr. 25, 2012, 1:46pm


BOSTON (Legal Newsline) - Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley announced on Tuesday that a permanent injunction and civil penalty have been ordered against a Rutland company for allegedly allowing large amounts of sediment to discharge into a pond.

"This company not only violated the law, it damaged acres of wetlands and risked our public water supply," Coakley said. "We strongly support the court's admonition that companies cannot treat environmental violations as a cost of doing business, particularly given a company with a history of violations like this one."

Blair Enterprises Inc. allegedly failed to comply with local and state permits when it improperly maintained and implemented erosion control measures at its construction site located outside of Moulton Pond. Sediment was allegedly discharged from the site into the pond and the adjacent wetlands.

Moulton Pond is a tributary to the Quabbin Reservoir and the wetlands are part of metropolitan Boston's primary public drinking water supply. Blair Enterprises allegedly failed to comply with an order from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection to stop the work and correct the violations.

The company allegedly violated the terms of its permit under the Watershed Protection Act and the Wetlands Protection Act and its water quality certification under the Clean Waters Act. As a result of improper construction and its alleged failure to monitor and maintain its sediment basins, hay bales and other measures to control erosion, sediment overflows and breakthroughs occurred.

The sediment from the Blair Enterprises construction site covered approximately two acres of wetlands in a six-inch-deep layer. The discharged settlement plumes in Moulton Pond and the adjacent wetlands impeded the flow, natural filtration and overall quality of the water. In addition, the sediment layer injured vegetation and wildlife in the habitat.

The injunction against Blair Enterprises was ordered by Suffolk Superior Court Judge Geraldine Hines. Under the terms of the order, Blair Enterprises must cease and desist from engaging in further violations while working at the Bear Hill Estates subdivision. The company must also mitigate the harm caused at the site and pay a civil penalty of up to $392,842.

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