June 01–ANDOVER — A local trucking company was fined $33,000 — the maximum amount allowed under state law — for failing to take action after one of its vehicles spilled 100 gallons of diesel fuel following an accident on Interstate 495 two years ago, investigators said.
The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection fined Airfreight Express Corp. for not reporting the spill and then failing to clean it up, said Ed Coletta, spokesman for the DEP. The company was also cited for failing to turn in the required paperwork regarding the spill, he said.
On Aug. 22, 2016, at 6:20 a.m., the Massachusetts State Police notified DEP that a sudden release of diesel fuel had happened on Interstate 495 northbound at the Massachusetts Turnpike exit ramp, officials said. An estimated 100 gallons of diesel fuel leaked from a tractor-trailer unit owned and operated by Airfreight Express following a motor vehicle accident, police said. They said the diesel spilled onto the roadway and soil at the site.
Under state law, companies are required to notify DEP within two hours of a spill. Airfreight Express “failed to do so,” according to a press release from the DEP. The company was also responsible for hiring a cleanup contractor to address the spill, but indicated it was unable to do so. As a result, DEP had to hire a state contractor to complete the cleanup, officials said.
Over the next 18 months, the company also missed a number of required deadlines to file reports with DEP concerning the spill, its classification, and its eventual assessment and final status.
“Operators of commercial vehicles involved in motor vehicle accidents must take prompt action to address releases of fuel oils that are released to the environment,” said Mary Jude Pigsley, director of DEP’s Central Regional Office in Worcester. “This includes filing all necessary plans and documents to ensure proper cleanup of any spilled fuel or oils in the interest of public health, safety, welfare and the environment.”
Coletta said the company lists its address as 345 River Road, Andover, on documents filed with the Secretary of State’s office. A Google maps search for that address shows what looks like a a large, single-family home. A web search of the company shows it has a post office box in Andover and a company address in Woburn.
A call to the company was not returned on Thursday.
Coletta said the company was fined the maximum amount allowed for this kind of spill because the company never responded to requests for a negotiated settlement. He said most of the time, if a company negotiates, the fine is lowered to $5,000 or $10,000 for this kind of spill.
If the fine isn’t paid, it could be tripled or go into collection, he said.
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