MassDEP Fines Methuen Woman $42,975 for Numerous Environmental Violations at Springfield Rental Property

 BOSTON – The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) has issued a $42,975 penalty to Ms. Rubia Avila of Methuen for violating environmental regulations at her two-family residential rental property, located at 34-36 Cliftwood Street in Springfield.

On August 26, 2012, MassDEP responded to Ms. Avila’s property in conjunction with Springfield public safety officials, to investigate a complaint from a neighbor that strong fuel oil odors were present. MassDEP personnel observed that two aboveground oil storage tanks had been dismantled at the property, and had been moved from the basement into the back yard. Fuel oil had been spilled within the basement of the residence, and washed into a dirt area cut into the floor. Fuel oil had also been spilled on paved surfaces and soil outside the residence. MassDEP also observed that fuel oil and fuel oil sludge had been discharged into four holes that had been hand-excavated in the backyard.

On August 27, 2012, MassDEP personnel met with Ms. Avila, and determined that employees of Ms. Avila had dismantled the storage tanks and caused the oil spillage. City of Springfield permits necessary for removal of the tanks, and other ongoing renovations at the property had not been obtained by Ms. Avila.

Ms. Avila was ordered by MassDEP to immediately arrange for cleanup of the oil spill. She subsequently arranged for complete cleanup of the spill, and has submitted required documentation to MassDEP.

“There can be no tolerance for egregious violations such as these,” said Michael Gorski, director of MassDEP’s Western Regional Office in Springfield. “Swift action by Springfield personnel and MassDEP responders prevented this contamination from quickly spreading to neighboring properties and underlying groundwater.”

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.