Workers Installing Natural-gas Line Excavated Contaminated Soil without a Safety Plan
BOSTON – The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) penalized national grid $15,000 for waste site cleanup violations that occurred during construction activity along an easement at 100 Charles Street in Malden.
In 1997, this property had reportable levels of contaminants in the soil. The required cleanup was completed in 2008, and included a notice of Activity and Use Limitation (AUL) because contaminated soil remained capped on the property. The AUL mandated that certain preventive measures be implemented prior to the disturbance of contaminated sub-surface soils at the site.
“national grid is well-aware of the dangers of digging without the proper safety measures,” said Eric Worrall, acting director of MassDEP’s Northeast Regional Office in Wilmington. “National Grid admitted it knew and claims to have added this property to its list of properties with an AUL, but dropped the ball by failing to cross-reference that list before beginning the work.”
In January 2012, National Grid’s contractor installed 132 feet of new natural gas line, four feet down, without first preparing a soil management plan and a health and safety plan as required. The violations came to light during a routine inspection by MassDEP. In addition to the penalty, National Grid must demonstrate it can ensure future compliance by submitting to MassDEP an updated copy of its standard operating procedures for projects at oil and hazardous material sites.
The property where the work took place, 100 Charles Street, is owned by New England Coffee, which is not a responsible party to these violations. The site was first listed with MassDEP in 1997 due to elevated levels of metals and poly-aromatic hydrocarbons. A waste site cleanup appropriate for commercial properties was completed in 2008, provided that the AUL requirements were followed.
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.