A construction material supply company will pay up to $1.45 million in addition to repairing and upgrading its plant it Chelmsford, Massachusetts, to settle allegations that it produced asphalt in violation of its permit.
According to state Attorney General Maura Healey, Raynham, Massachusetts-based Aggregate Industries - Northeast Region Inc. produced emissions and noxious odors that caused a public nuisance in the surrounding area.
“This company recklessly ignored the requirements of our environmental protection laws and the health and wellbeing of its neighbors when it continued to illegally manufacture asphalt and emit odors that deeply disrupted the surrounding community,” Healey said. “My office will continue to work with our state partners to hold accountable those who endanger our communities and the environment for their own benefit.”
The consent judgment, entered in Suffolk Superior Court on April 27, settles allegations that the company violated the Massachusetts Clean Air Act and its regulations when it installed unauthorized equipment at its Chelmsford plant to produce crumb rubber asphalt pavement and thereafter failed to properly operate and maintain the plant over at least four months.
This caused visible emissions of particulate matter and volatile organic compounds, as well as acrid, noxious odors that smelled like burning tires, caused throat irritation and respiratory issues for nearby residents and woke some from their sleep.
According to the attorney general’s complaint, the odors were detectable up to at least three miles from the plant. The complaint also alleges that Aggregate told the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) that it had stopped producing the crumb rubber asphalt during MassDEP’s initial investigation, but actually continued producing the crumb rubber asphalt for months.
According to the complaint, Aggregate’s installation of unauthorized equipment, failure to inspect and maintain the plant, and emission of pollutants and noxious odors were also violations of its permit to operate the plant.
“MassDEP is committed to enforcing the law and ensuring a level playing field for all regulated industrial production facilities. Although most entities comply with the regulations that protect public health and the environment, this case demonstrates the cost of not properly operating and maintaining a facility,” said Eric Worrall, director of MassDEP’s Northeast Regional Office in Wilmington. “The community and the environment will benefit greatly from the substantial improvements to the Aggregate facility required under this agreement.”
Under the terms of the settlement, Aggregate will pay $1.45 million in penalties, of which $460,000 is suspended for two years pending compliance with the consent judgment. Aggregate is also required to seek a new permit from MassDEP and to perform extensive repairs and upgrades to equipment and operations at the Chelmsford plant.