April 2015 Enforcement Action Summary

Formal Enforcement Actions Issued
Formal Enforcement Actions Settled or Resolved
Superior Court Actions Issued
Superior Court Actions Settled or Resolved

This report includes formal enforcement actions issued or resolved by the Office of Compliance & Inspection for the month of April 2015. This report is intended to inform the public of certain compliance/enforcement activities performed in the preceding month to protect the public's health, safety, welfare and the environment.

Formal Enforcement actions are taken to achieve compliance with law/regulations; remediate environmental damage; restore natural resources to appropriate conditions; impose penalties that capture the gravity of the situation and any economic benefit gained by the alleged violator; and deter similar actions in the future. Formal enforcement is generally in the form of a Notice of Violation ("NOV") that alleges certain facts and violations, contains orders to resolve the alleged violations, contains an assessed penalty with supporting documentation regarding what factors RIDEM used to determine the penalty, and, by law, allows a respondent the ability to appeal or contest the NOV to the Department's Administrative Adjudication Division ("AAD"). Since most NOVs are contested cases, RIDEM does not generally discuss the case with the public while the matter is awaiting hearing or pending negotiated settlement. NOVs are subject to release under the Access to Public Records law in Rhode Island. A copy of an individual NOV may be obtained through RIDEM's Office of Customer and Technical Assistance. The OC&I often resolves formal enforcement actions through negotiated settlement agreements prior to hearing before the AAD.

Media inquiries should be addressed to Gail Mastrati at 401-222-4700 ext. 2402. Requests for file reviews should be emailed to dem.filereview@dem.ri.gov. More information is available at www.dem.ri.gov/programs/customertech/file-review.php. Please note that formal case names appearing in blue text are linked to a PDF version of the unsigned document.

Formal Enforcement Actions Issued:

April 13, 2015 - OWTS File No. 14-251 re: Salvatore Parente, Carmen Parente, and Ralph N. Shippee for property located at 226 Raccoon Run Road, Assessor's Plat 318, Lot 93 and an abutting property on Hill Farm Road, Assessor's Plat 318, Lot 104 in the town of Coventry. Plat 318, Lot 93 includes a residential dwelling and is owned by Salvatore Parente and Carmen Parente (Parentes Property). Plat 318, Lot 104 is vacant land and is owned by the Ralph N. Shippee Trust (Shippee Property). The OC&I alleges that the Respondents are in violation of the RIDEM's Rules Establishing Minimum Standards Relating to Location, Design, Construction and Maintenance of Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems. The violations pertain to the alteration of the onsite wastewater treatment system (OWTS) that serves the dwelling of the Parentes Property without a permit from the RIDEM and the failure to submit an application to the RIDEM to repair the OWTS. On October 20, 2014, the RIDEM spoke to Mr. Shippee and Ms. Parente as part of an ongoing dispute between the two parties concerning the location of the OWTS. The RIDEM informed Mr. Shippee that he could not alter the OWTS in any way, even if it is determined that the OWTS is on his property. On October 21, 2014, the RIDEM spoke with Mr. Shippee. Mr. Shippee informed the RIDEM that he was digging a hole on his property with a backhoe and broke a pipe connected to the OWTS. On October 24, 2014 and January 16, 2015, the OC&I inspected the property. The inspections revealed an excavated hole on the Shippee Property in the area of the OWTS and a broken plastic pipe that is part of the OWTS visible in the excavated hole. On January 21, 2015, the OC&I issued an informal written notice to the Parentes by certified mail for the violation. The notice required specific actions to correct the violation. On February 5, 2015, the notice was delivered to the Parentes. As of the date of the NOV, the Parentes have failed to comply with the notice. In the NOV, the OC&I ordered the Parentes to keep the OWTS pumped as often as necessary to prevent sewage overflows and repair the OWTS in accordance with an approval issued by the RIDEM. The OC&I did not assess an administrative penalty against the Parentes. The OC&I assessed an administrative penalty of $1,000 against Mr. Shippee.

April 17, 2015 - Freshwater Wetlands File No. OCI-FW-14-147 re: Cardi Corporation and NORTH-EASTERN TREE SERVICE, INC. for property located along Centerville Road (Route 117) in the city of Warwick. On October 8, 2013, the RIDEM issued the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (DOT) a permit to alter freshwater wetlands associated with roadway and drainage improvements on the property (Permit). The Permit included specific language to provide extra protection to the wetlands due to the presence of American Waterwort, a plant listed as a species of concern under the RIDEM's Natural Heritage Program and defined as a rare plant under the DEM's Rules and Regulations Governing the Administration and Enforcement of the Freshwater Wetlands Act (Freshwater Wetland Regulations), and the critical nature of the wetland habitat in this area. The Permit requires: limiting alterations to only those shown on the approved plans; use all efforts to preserve trees greater than 24 inches in diameter that are located within freshwater wetlands to the greatest extent practicable; and install, use and follow all best management practices detailed or described on the approved plans to minimize or prevent adverse impacts to any adjacent freshwater wetlands. The DOT awarded a contract to Cardi Corporation (Cardi) to complete the work approved in the Permit. Cardi subcontracted a portion of the work approved in the Permit to NORTH-EASTERN TREE SERVICE, INC. (NE Tree). Prior to the commencement of the work, the RIDEM and the DOT met on the property and identified the project limit of disturbance and the DOT then met with Cardi to review the locations of American Waterwort and the required protective measures. The OC&I alleges that the Respondents are in violation of Rhode Island's Freshwater Wetlands Act and the RIDEM's Freshwater Wetland Regulations. The violation pertains to the Respondents' failure to comply with the Permit. Specifically, clearing of a Riverbank Wetland associated with the Apponaug River; draining, excavating, grading, filling and creating soil disturbance within a Special Aquatic Site adjacent to the Apponaug River; and clearing and grubbing within a Riverbank Wetland associated with the Apponaug River with no erosion and sediment controls to protect the Special Aquatic Site. This activity resulted in the unauthorized alteration of approximately 5,500 square feet of freshwater wetland and the destruction of 1 colony of American Waterwort. The violations occurred on two separate dates. On August 14, 2014, the DOT informed the RIDEM that clearing of wetlands on the property occurred in noncompliance with the Permit. On August 19, 2014, an inspection by the DOT and the RIDEM documented the clearing of the Riverbank Wetland. On September 18, 2014, the DOT informed the RIDEM of the alterations to the Special Aquatic Site and the Riverbank Wetland. On September 24, 2014, an inspection by the DOT and the RIDEM documented the alterations to the Special Aquatic Site and the Riverbank Wetland. Inspections by the RIDEM and the DOT in the Fall of 2014 revealed that the Respondents completed work to mitigate the damage caused by the unauthorized alterations as required by the RIDEM. In the NOV, the OC&I assessed an administrative penalty of $10,000 to Cardi and NE Tree and a separate penalty of $10,000 to Cardi.

Formal Enforcement Actions Settled or Resolved:

April 3, 2015 - Water Pollution File No. OCI-WP-15-1 and RIPDES RIG250022 re: SAFETY KLEEN SYSTEMS, INC. for a facility located at 167 Mill Street in the city of Cranston. On December 17, 2013, the RIDEM issued a permit to the Respondent to discharge non-contact cooling water from its facility to the Pawtuxet River (Permit). The Permit requires the Respondent to summarize monitoring results obtained during the previous quarterly period and report these results to the RIDEM in a discharge monitoring report (DMR) that must be postmarked no later than the 15th day of the month following the completed reporting period. On January 26, 2015, the OC&I issued an NOV to the Respondent alleging that the Respondent violated the RIDEM's Water Quality Regulations and the RIDEM's Regulations for the Rhode Island Pollutant Discharge Elimination System. The violation pertained to the Respondent's failure to comply with its Permit. The Respondent failed to submit timely DMRs in accordance with the permit for three quarterly periods: the 2nd quarter of 2013; the 2nd quarter of 2014; and the 3rd quarter of 2014. The DMRs for the 2nd quarter of 2013 and the 2nd quarter of 2014 were submitted on November 15, 2013 and September 19, 2014, respectively. As of the date of the NOV, the Respondent failed to submit the DMR for the 3rd quarter of 2014. In the NOV the OC&I ordered the Respondent to submit the DMR for the 3rd quarter of 2014. The OC&I assessed an administrative penalty of $2,750. The Respondent did not file an appeal of the NOV with the AAD. The Respondent complied with the Order section of the NOV and paid a reduced penalty of $1,500 to fully resolve the NOV.

April 8, 2015 - Air File No. 14-08 and OCI-AIR-14-331 re: P.J. Keating Company for a facility located at 875 Phenix Avenue in the city of Cranston (Facility). On March 31, 1992, the RIDEM issued an approval to Tilcon Gammino Inc. to emit air pollutants from the Facility. On November 6, 2002, the RIDEM received a letter from the Respondent advising the RIDEM that the corporation changed its name from Tilcon Gammino Inc. to P.J. Keating. The RIDEM transferred the approval to the Respondent. On April 12, 2004 and July 21, 2004, the RIDEM issued approvals to the Respondent to emit air pollutants from the facility. Collectively, these approvals are the Permits. The Permits require the Respondent to check the dust collector pressure drop a minimum of once per day and record the date, time and measurement; conduct a visolite or similar leak detection test of the baghouse prior to the initial startup and operation, when plant operations are resumed after winter shutdown, and every 90 days during the operating season; and submit a written report to the RIDEM within 10 days of each test's completion. On January 20, 2015, the OC&I issued an NOV to the Respondent alleging that the Respondent violated Rhode Island's Clean Air Act and the RIDEM's Air Pollution Control (APC) Regulation No. 9 - Air Pollution Control Permits. The violation pertained to the failure to comply with the Permits. On August 28, 2014, the RIDEM inspected the Facility. The inspection revealed that the Respondent failed to conduct pressure drop readings for the dust collector and make required daily recordings. At the time of the inspection the pressure drop gauge for the dust collector was inoperable. The inspection also revealed that the Respondent failed to conduct visolite or similar leak detection testing after July 2010 of the baghouse and submit documentation to the RIDEM. In the NOV, the OC&I ordered the Respondent to: conduct a visolite or similar leak detection test of the baghouse, correct any deficiencies immediately, and submit a report of the test to the RIDEM; repair the pressure drop gauge for the dust collector; and implement record keeping of pressure drop measurements once per day. The OC&I assessed an administrative penalty of $8,672. The Respondent did not file an appeal of the NOV with the AAD. The Respondent complied with the Order section of the NOV and paid a reduced penalty of $4,500 to fully resolve the NOV.

April 8, 2015 - Water Pollution File No. 14-10 X-ref RIPDES RI0023442 re: Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation for property located at 65 Shun Pike in the town of Johnston. The property includes a facility that is engaged in the recycling and disposal of solid waste (Facility). On September 28, 2007, the RIDEM issued a Rhode Island Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (RIPDES) permit to the Respondent (Permit). The Permit became effective on January 1, 2008. The Permit authorizes the Respondent to discharge storm water from treatment pond 11 (Pond 11) at the Facility to Cedar Swamp Brook. The Permit requires the Respondent to: meet a monthly average limit for Total Ammonia of 4.9 milligrams per liter (mg/L) and a daily maximum limit for Total Ammonia of 10.0 mg/L; collect samples of the water discharging from Pond 11 at a minimum frequency of once per month from April through June and once per quarter from July through March and analyze the samples for, among other pollutants, Total Ammonia (Analyses); and report the results of the Analyses to the RIDEM on discharge monitoring reports (DMRs). On July 14, 2014, the OC&I issued an NOV to the Respondent alleging that the Respondent violated Rhode Island's Water Pollution Act, RIDEM's Water Quality Regulations and RIDEM's Regulations for the Rhode Island Pollutant Discharge Elimination System. The violation pertained to the Respondent's failure to comply with its Permit. The Respondent submitted DMRs for January 2013 through March 2014 to the RIDEM. The DMRs revealed the following for Total Ammonia: average monthly limit of 9.03 mg/L for January-March 2013; average monthly limit and daily maximum limit of 32.7 mg/L for April 2013; average monthly limit and daily maximum limit of 21.3 mg/L for May 2013; average monthly limit and daily maximum limit of 24.6 mg/L; average monthly limit and daily maximum limit of 75.6 mg/L; and an average monthly limit of 29.47 mg/L and a daily maximum limit of 33.8 mg/L for March 2014. In the NOV, the OC&I ordered the Respondent to investigate the cause of the violations and submit a report to the RIDEM that summarizes the findings of the investigation and the actions necessary to comply with the Permit. The OC&I assessed an administrative penalty of $15,000. The Respondent filed an appeal of the NOV with the AAD. Prior to an administrative hearing on the NOV, the OC&I and the Respondent executed a Consent Agreement to resolve the NOV. The Respondent agreed to submit a standard operating procedure for the use of aerators as a temporary measure to achieve compliance with the Permit for Total Ammonia and submit a formal report by September 30, 2015 that evaluates the cause of the violations, treatment alternatives, and an application for a preferred treatment alternative, if required. The Respondent also agreed to perform a Supplemental Environmental Project (SEP) as full payment of the $15,000 penalty. The SEP involves improvements to the storm water drainage system on Shun Pike to prevent sediment from entering adjacent wetlands and removal of sediment within the wetlands by September 30, 2015. The Respondent estimates that the cost to complete the SEP is $17,116.80.

April 14, 2015 - Dam File No. 727 (Bowdish Lower Dam) re: Lynda Jean Marshall a/k/a Lynda J. Schmidt for property located south of Richardson Clearing Trail and north of S. Atlantic Avenue in the town of Glocester. The property includes a dam and associated spillway. The dam is classified by the RIDEM as High Hazard. The Respondent owns the dam. On April 9, 2012, the OC&I issued an NOV to the Respondent alleging that the Respondent violated the RIDEM's Rules and Regulations for Dam Safety. The violation pertained to the Respondent's failure to maintain the dam in a safe condition and failure to register the dam. The dam was inspected on October 19, 2009. The inspection revealed the following conditions: vegetation on the upstream side and downstream side of the embankment of the dam that did not allow a proper inspection to be performed; debris obstructing flow in the spillway; and an unknown operability of the low level gate. The OC&I considered the dam unsafe because of the excessive vegetation that inhibits a proper inspection, debris obstructing the flow in the spillway, and the unknown operability of the low level gate. On December 6, 2011, the OC&I issued a certified letter to the Respondent that included a registration form for the dam. The Respondent was required to complete and return the form to the OC&I by December 26, 2011. The Respondent did not provide the registration form to the OC&I. In the NOV, the OC&I ordered the Respondent to submit the registration form, clear the embankment and spillway of vegetation and debris, retain a professional engineer to inspect the dam (that must include an evaluation of the operability of the low level gate), and submit a report to the OC&I of his/her findings, including any specific actions necessary to return the dam to a safe condition and a schedule to complete the work. The OC&I did not assess an administrative penalty. The Respondent filed an appeal of the NOV with the AAD (Appeal). On December 16, 2014, a hearing was held on the Appeal. On April 15, 2015, the hearing officer issued a Decision and Order that upheld the NOV and denied the Appeal.

Superior Court Actions Issued:

None issued this month.

Superior Court Actions Settled or Resolved:

April 7, 2015 - OWTS File CI 11-32 and Superior Court File No. PC 13-0805 re: Plaintiff Janet L. Coit, Director, RIDEM vs. Defendants Michael A. Tucciarone and Annette R. Sousa for property located at 1708 Flat River Road, Assessor's Plat 58, Lot 4 in the town of Coventry. The property includes a residential dwelling and is owned by the Defendants. On September 14, 2011, the OC&I issued an NOV to the Defendants alleging that the Defendants violated RIDEM's Rules Establishing Minimum Standards Relating to Location, Design, Construction and Maintenance of Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems (OWTS Regulations). The violation pertained to the discharge of sewage to the surface of the ground from the onsite wastewater treatment system (OWTS) that treats the wastewater from the toilets, showers and sinks for the dwelling and the discharge of laundry wastewater from the OWTS that treats laundry wastewater from the dwelling. In the NOV, the OC&I ordered the Defendants to retain a licensed OWTS designer to evaluate the systems, and, if it's determined that a repair is needed, to repair the systems in accordance with the RIDEM's OWTS Regulations. The OC&I assessed an administrative penalty of $1,000. The Defendants filed an appeal of the NOV with the AAD. Prior to an administrative hearing on the NOV, the Defendants submitted documentation to the OC&I to show that they did not have the financial means to repair the OWTSs or pay any portion of the penalty assessed in the NOV, and the OC&I and the Defendants executed a Consent Agreement to resolve the NOV. The Defendants agreed to pump the system that treats the wastewater from the toilets, showers and sinks for the dwelling as often as necessary to prevent any and all overflows, discontinue all use of the washing machine at the dwelling until the system is repaired, limit occupancy of the dwelling to no more than 4 persons until their system is repaired, install low-flow water fixtures on the sinks and shower and a low-flow toilet, and repair the system (including connecting the plumbing from the washing machine into the repaired system) when the property is sold or transferred to a new owner. The OC&I waived the administrative penalty assessed in the NOV. On December 7, 2012 and January 22, 2013, the OC&I inspected the property and observed sewage overflowing to the ground surface in 3 locations in the rear yard and also confirmed that 8 people were living in the house. On February 14, 2013, the RIDEM filed a complaint in the Superior Court and asked the court to order that the property be vacated until the OWTSs are permanently repaired. On April 7, 2015, the Court entered an order agreed to by the RIDEM and the Defendants that required the Defendants to vacate the property by April 1, 2015 (Order). The Defendants complied with the Order.