Massachusetts Power Company to Pay 2.5 Million for Overfilling Agawam Landfill
A Massachusetts power company has reached a settlement with the state over allegations that they overfilled a disposal site in two Western Massachusetts towns. EP Energy Massachusetts and the company's former owners will pay more than $2.5 million to the Commonwealth. The company owns a landfill on the boarder of north Agawam and West Springfield. That's where Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection's Pamela Talbot says the company allowed construction waste to be hauled and deposited until the landfill stood 12 feet above its permitted elevation. Talbot says luckily, the waste doesn't pose a major threat to area residents.
"It's not anything you would want to put in your garden, but certainly its appropriate to put in a landfill. And to a large extent its construction and demolition debris, and you know, urban fill."
Talbot says the defendants also skipped out on paying taxes to Agawam and West Springfield on the excess waste. But more importantly, she says they violated what she calls the state's "False Claim's Act."
"What they did is falsely certified how much they were taking and they kept the money. So it creates an un-level playing field for people doing it right. And candidly, most people do do it right."
A representative from EP Power says the current owners purchased the company in 2008. They say the violations took place before they purchased the company -- and that they were unaware of the allegations when they bought it. As part of the settlement, EP Power Massachusetts has submitted a remediation plan to bring the site up to Massachusetts' environmental standards.