, Salem, MA

Local News

February 1, 2014

Site owner agrees to pay for cleanup

DANVERS — The owner of the former Crease and Cook Tannery Superfund site in Danvers has agreed to pay nearly $400,000 to settle allegations that he failed to address contamination on the property.

The attorney general’s office announced yesterday that as part of a consent judgment, Nicholas Decoulos of Gloucester will pay $187,500 in civil penalties and more than $200,000 to reimburse the state for the cost of cleaning up the site after he failed to take action.

The consent judgment, entered on Thursday by a Suffolk Superior Court judge, ends 41/2 years of litigation between the state Department of Environmental Protection and Decoulos. In 2011, Decoulos was found liable for the costs of the cleanup.

In 2013, the 17-acre site, along the Crane River, near Water Street and Route 128, was designated a federal Superfund site.

According to the EPA, some 450 tons of soil contaminated with arsenic, chromium and dioxin, among other hazards, has been removed and hauled away to a facility in Maine.

The toxins were the result of years of leather tanning at the old plant, which went bankrupt and shut down in 1984. The area also became contaminated with asbestos after Decoulos removed a building there without properly removing that substance first, officials said.

Decoulos, an attorney with a practice in Peabody, purchased the land in 2003 through a trust.

In addition to the payments, Decoulos will be required to maintain fencing and warning signs around the areas with highest levels of contamination, and monitor the site for illegal trespassers.

Last September, authorities had to remove an encampment of homeless people on the site.

The order remains in effect until the EPA takes jurisdiction of the site, state officials said.

“Strict compliance with the state’s hazardous waste laws is essential to protecting the public and environment,” Attorney General Martha Coakley said in a statement announcing the judgment. “Property owners cannot shift the costs of dealing with contamination at their properties onto taxpayers.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News

AP Video
Judge Ponders Overturning Colo. Gay Marriage Ban Airlines Halt Travel to Israel Amid Violence NYPD Chief Calls for 'use of Force' Retraining VA Nominee McDonald Goes Before Congress Bush: Don't Worry, Sugarland Isn't Breaking Up US Official: Most Migrant Children to Be Removed Police Probing Brooklyn Bridge Flag Switch CDC Head Concerned About a Post-antibiotic Era Raw: First Lady Says `Drink Up' More Water Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law Holder Urges Bipartisanship on Immigration Raw: Truck, Train Crash Leads to Fireball US Airlines Cancel Israel Flights Obama Signs Workforce Training Law Crash Victims' Remains Reach Ukraine-held City Diplomatic Push Intensifies to End War in Gaza Cat Fans Lap Up Feline Film Festival Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment
Comments Tracker