By Sam Bonacci | March 18, 2020
A Sutton construction contractor has agreed to pay $120,000 to reimburse the state for the cost of responding to a 2017 explosion and fire of a backyard shed at a Shrewsbury residential property, which released hazardous chemicals and fumes, causing workers and a neighbor to develop respiratory problems.
Attorney General Maura Healey sued P&M Asphalt Services Inc. and the property’s owners, Edgar Muntz, Jr. and 393 Oak Street Realty Trust, a realty trust Muntz owns and manages. The lawsuit alleged the defendants violated the state’s hazardous materials laws by demolishing a backyard shed at the property, which was filled with hundreds of containers of dangerous chemicals, including dynamite, mercury, arsenic, chloroform, and sodium cyanide.
As alleged in the complaint, the shed burst into flames during the demolition, releasing the hazardous materials into the air and soil. The Attorney General’s Office alleges, in further violation of state law, none of the defendants reported the explosion or contamination to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. After a neighbor alerted local authorities, MassDEP, along with other state and local agencies, responded to the scene and took remedial action to secure the site and clean up the hazardous materials.
The settlement will go toward reimbursing the state for the cost MassDEP incurred when it assessed, contained, and removed the hazardous material from the property. The Attorney General’s Office is continuing to pursue claims against Muntz and the realty trust in court, seeking reimbursement of MassDEP’s remaining costs, penalties, and injunctive relief.
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