MassDEP Inspection of Cobham Electronic Systems in Lowell Reveals Hazardous Waste Management Violations; $8,580 Penalty Issued


BOSTON – The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) penalized Cobham Electronic Systems of Lowell $8,580 after an inspection revealed hazardous waste management violations that included an incomplete contingency or emergency plan. MassDEP also determined that the company had failed to train its facility personnel on the management of hazardous waste, and there were numerous labeling and storage violations.

On March 5, 2013, MassDEP conducted an inspection of the facility at 1001 Pawtucket Boulevard in Lowell and found numerous violations. MassDEP found that the company lacked proper training of its workers, failed to delineate the main waste accumulation area in order to keep it separate from the points of waste generation, and had a drum of unlabelled waste in the industrial wastewater treatment room that the facility has agreed it will identify and label immediately. Cobham Electronic Systems is a registered large quantity generator of hazardous waste, as well as a small quantity generator of waste oil.

“Proper training is essential in every aspect involving the generation, storage and transportation of hazardous waste,” said Eric Worrall, director of MassDEP’s Northeast Regional Office in Wilmington. “Mistakes involving hazardous waste can quickly snowball into widespread environmental damage, so employees must be trained to protect themselves, the workplace, and the potential damage they can do to the community.”

 Cobham has agreed to pay the entire $8,580 penalty and to take immediate steps to correct the labeling violations and, within 30 days, to train its employees and post a completed contingency emergency plan.

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.