SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

November 30, 2012

Firm hit with penalty for asbestos removal

BY JULIE MANGANIS
STAFF WRITER

---- — SWAMPSCOTT — A Swampscott demolition company accused of improperly removing and disposing of asbestos from several projects, including one in Swampscott, was issued a $100,000 civil penalty by a Suffolk Superior Court judge yesterday.

Total Dismantling and Carting Services Inc. and a successor business, The Total Group Inc., will have to pay $50,000 of that penalty over the next several years; the balance will be suspended for five years. If the business complies with a consent judgment and avoids further violations, they will not have to pay the rest of the penalty, according to Attorney General Martha Coakley’s office.

The civil complaint against the company alleged that it violated the state’s Clean Air Act and Solid Waste Management Act by repeatedly removing and then improperly disposing of asbestos-containing materials without notifying the state Department of Environmental Protection, as required by the law.

The company also failed to use proper containment procedures for removing and transporting asbestos and took it to a site in Revere for disposal that did not have a permit for accepting asbestos waste, prosecutors allege.

The company continues to dispute that it violated the law.

Asbestos was commonly used in building materials for insulation and fire protection until its hazards became widely known in the 1970s.

One of the sites where the company performed improper work, prosecutors said, was in Swampscott; however, the specific location of the work in the town was not disclosed.

Among the other sites where the company performed asbestos removal was the old Hook Lobster building on Boston’s waterfront, which was destroyed in a 2008 fire. The remains of the landmark building contained asbestos, prosecutors said.

“It is especially important to take the proper precautions in a heavily traveled area like the Boston waterfront,” Coakley said in a press release announcing the judgment.

Other violations were discovered at sites in Malden and Saugus.

The case was prosecuted by the attorney general’s office, along with the DEP.

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at jmanganis@salemnews.com or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.