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Swampscott Company Fined $100,000 For Improper Handling of Asbestos

Total Dismantling and Carting Services and its successor company, The Total Group, violated the state's Clean Air Act according to Attorney General Martha Coakley.

[Editor's note: The following is a slightly edited press release from the office of Attorney General Martha Coakley.]

A demolition company from Swampscott has been ordered to pay the Commonwealth $100,000 in civil penalties for the alleged improper removal and disposal of asbestos-containing waste at locations throughout eastern Massachusetts, including the Hook Lobster Company building on the Boston waterfront, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced Thursday.

According to the complaint, Total Dismantling and Carting Services Inc., and its successor, The Total Group Inc., both of Swampscott, violated the state’s Clean Air Act by repeatedly removing and disposing of asbestos-containing material without notifying the Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) that the work was going to occur. The Clean Air Act requires notifications to MassDEP to ensure that demolition and renovation companies are properly handling and disposing of asbestos. 

“Companies are not permitted to risk public health, safety, or the environment by failing to properly handle asbestos or by failing to disclose when they are working at demolition sites that involve asbestos,” Coakley said. “It is especially important to take the proper precautions in a heavily traveled area like the Boston waterfront.” 

“MassDEP works to ensure that asbestos-containing materials are identified and properly removed, handled, packaged and stored in accordance with the regulations,” said MassDEP Commissioner Kenneth Kimmell. “Failure to follow the right procedures is an extremely serious oversight that potentially exposes workers and the general public to a known carcinogen and inevitably results in significant penalty exposure for the violator.”

The complaint also alleges that Total Dismantling and Carting Services and Removal Specialists demolished the former Hook Lobster Building in 2008 after it burned in a fire without removing all of the asbestos-containing material first and without notifying MassDEP that it was going to perform the work.

Additionally, the company allegedly failed to use the proper containment procedures at the Hook Lobster demolition site and during transport to an unpermitted storage site in Revere.

The consent judgment, approved in Suffolk Superior Court Thursday, requires Total Dismantling and Carting Services Inc., and the Total Group to pay a civil penalty of $100,000 for their share of the violations involving the Hook site as well as violations at three other demolition sites in Saugus, Malden and Swampscott. Half of that amount in the settlement is suspended provided the companies comply with the judgment and commit no further violations during a 5-year probationary period.

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