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BOSTON – The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) penalized the Lahey Clinic Hospital, Inc. $540,000 for installing and operating a 3,000-kilowatt combined heat and power engine at its Burlington location without proper air quality approval and for submitting misleading and inaccurate information.
“A health-care facility that provides essential services to the community should not be installing and operating an engine of this size when they clearly understand the need to obtain required approvals, and then give false and misleading information about its installation,” said Eric Worrall, director of MassDEP’s Northeast Regional Office in Wilmington.
Under the terms of a consent order signed with MassDEP, the company will devote $100,000 of the penalty amount to fund a Supplemental Environmental Program (SEP). The SEP will go to the Middlesex 3 Coalition to support a regional transportation shuttle service designed to decrease car usage and vehicle emissions in the area. Middlesex 3 Coalition is a non-profit organization of over 50 area businesses established in 2012 to promote sustainable economic development along Route 3 in Middlesex County.
In addition to the air quality violations, MassDEP also determined during inspection that Lahey Clinic had numerous hazardous waste management violations involving its storage and accumulation areas for hazardous waste; the signage and posting of emergency coordination plans; and, emergency contacts. Under today’s order, the company has agreed to undertake a third-party comprehensive environmental compliance and management systems audit and submit the results to MassDEP by no later than August 30, 2015.
Lahey Clinic will also be allowed to complete the commissioning period to operate the engine provided that the device complies with all the required comprehensive plan approvals going forward. An engine of this size, generating electricity of 3,000 kilowatts output, is roughly the amount of energy that is used to power 3,000 homes for a year.
Lahey Clinic must also conduct outreach to other hospitals and medical institutions to promote compliance with environmental laws and regulations, including addressing a meeting of Massachusetts Society of Hospital Engineers and the Boston Hospital Plant Engineers Association in 2014.
MassDEP is responsible for ensuring clean air and water, safe management and recycling of solid and hazardous wastes, timely cleanup of hazardous waste sites and spills and the preservation of wetlands and coastal resources.