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MassDEP Fines Karma Environmental Services of Quincy for Asbestos Violations at Commercial Building in Worcester 

BOSTON The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) has assessed a $17,355 penalty to Karma Environmental Services, Inc. of Quincy for violations of asbestos regulations that occurred during work it conducted at a commercial building slated for demolition in City of Worcester. MassDEP identified the violations while conducting an unannounced compliance inspection at the former Kelley Square Flea Market building at 149 Washington Street.

MassDEP observed that Karma Environmental failed to follow proper removal and handling procedures required by MassDEP’s regulations. MassDEP regulations prescribe material-specific work practices when removing asbestos-containing window caulking and glazing to ensure there is no release of asbestos fibers to the ambient air. Under the terms of the settlement agreement, the company will pay $13,884 of the penalty with the balance suspended provided there are no further violations for one year.

“As a licensed asbestos contractor, Karma Environmental Services, Inc. is required to know MassDEP’s regulations mandating specific procedures when conducting work with asbestos-containing building materials. Asbestos is a known carcinogen, and by failing to follow required work practices, the company put workers and the public at risk,” said Mary Jude Pigsley, director of MassDEP’s Central Regional Office in Worcester. “Failure to follow requirements will result in significant penalties, as well as escalated cleanup, decontamination and monitoring costs.”

Property owners or contractors with questions about asbestos-containing materials, notification requirements, proper removal, handling, packaging, storage and disposal procedures, or the asbestos regulations are encouraged to contact the appropriate MassDEP Regional Office for assistance.

MassDEP’s mission is to protect and enhance the Commonwealth’s natural resources – air, water and land – to provide for the health, safety and welfare of all people, and a clean and safe environment for future generations. In carrying out this mission, MassDEP commits to address and advance environmental justice and equity for all people of the Commonwealth, provide meaningful, inclusive opportunities for people to participate in agency decisions that affect their lives and ensure a diverse workforce that reflects the communities served by the agency.