Massachusetts Demolition Firm Fined over Asbestos Violations

Total Group fined $100,000 by the Massachusetts Attorney General for improper removal of waste containing asbestos.

December 5, 2012

Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley has announced that Total Dismantling and Carting Services Inc., a Swampscott, Mass., demolition firm, has been ordered to pay the Commonwealth of Massachusetts $100,000 in civil penalties for the company’s alleged improper removal and disposal of asbestos-containing waste at a number of facilities throughout Massachusetts.

According to the AG’s complaint, Total Dismantling, and its successor, The Total Group Inc., violated the state’s Clean Air Act by repeatedly removing and disposing of asbestos-containing material without notifying the Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) that the work was going to occur. The Clean Air Act requires notifications to MassDEP to ensure that demolition and renovation companies are properly handling and disposing of asbestos.

“Companies are not permitted to risk public health, safety, or the environment by failing to properly handle asbestos or by failing to disclose when they are working at demolition sites that involve asbestos,” Coakley said in a statement. “It is especially important to take the proper precautions in a heavily traveled area like the Boston waterfront.”

The complaint also alleges that Total Dismantling and Carting Services and Removal Specialists demolished the former Hook Lobster Building in 2008 after it burned in a fire without removing all of the asbestos-containing material first and without notifying MassDEP that it was going to perform the work.

Additionally, the company allegedly failed to use the proper containment procedures at the Hook Lobster demolition site and during transport to an unpermitted storage site in Revere, Mass.

The consent judgment, approved in Suffolk Superior Court, requires Total Dismantling and Carting Services and the Total Group to pay a civil penalty of $100,000 for their share of the violations involving the Hook site as well as violations at three other demolition sites in the state -- Saugus, Malden and Swampscott. If the defendants comply with the judgment and commit no further violations during a five-year probationary period, the court will suspend half of the penalty.