Massachusetts Water Resources Authority


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August 4, 2000

MWRA Orders Local Furniture Refinisher to Cease Illegal Sewer Discharges

MWRA issued a Cease and Desist Order this week to D&G Stripping and Refinishing, a furniture refinishing company at 71 Proctor Street in Boston, for illegal discharge of toxic substances to the sewer system. MWRA and the Boston Environmental Strike Team ("BEST") have required D&G to comply with sewer use regulations and will now be seeking fines and/or injunctive relief to ensure it doesn't happen again.

During a recent site inspection, MWRA staff discovered a thick grey liquid material (contaminated paint stripper) on the floor and at the bottom of a manhole connected to a floor drain in the facility. Samples analyzed by MWRA showed significant violations of sewer use regulations. Substances detected in illegal concentrations included lead, chromium, cadmium, copper, mercury, zinc, toluene, and petroleum hydrocarbons. This facility has been the subject of previous MWRA and BEST enforcement actions.

Mayor Thomas M. Menino said: "I am glad that these enforcement agencies took this step to protect the health of our residents and the quality of the water in Boston Harbor. This incident is an example of how important it is to maintain a constant vigil and make certain that the quality of Boston Harbor is protected so that residents and anyone else who uses Boston Harbor are able to use it safely."

MWRA Executive Director Doug MacDonald said "MWRA can not ignore flagrant conduct that harms Boston's sewer system, illegally sends pollutants to the Deer Island Sewage Treatment Plant, and creates unacceptable risks to workers."

The Cease and Desist Order required that the company stop all discharges of industrial wastewater to the sewer by close of business, August 3rd and permanently seal all floor drains connected to the sanitary sewer by August 10, 2000. The Boston Environmental Strike Team is also seeking compliance with hazardous waste regulations. An August 3rd joint MWRA/BEST inspection found that D&G has now sealed its floor drain and made significant progress towards compliance. Financial penalties could also be imposed.

MWRA is responsible for administering restrictions under the Federal Clean Water Act on toxics entering the sewer system from industrial dischargers. MWRA also works with industries to encourage reductions in the use of toxic chemicals.