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Home > Programs > Bureau of Environmental Protection > Office of Compliance and Inspection > Enforcement Summaries > November 2009 Summary

 
November 2009 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 November 2009. 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 addressed to Leanne DeCosta at 401-222-4700 ext. 7218, fax 401-222-3810.

Formal Enforcement Actions Issued:

November 10, 2009 - Septic System File No. CI 09-005 re: Wale Akinsulire for property located at 191 Shannock Village Road, Assessor's Plat 10D, Lot 22 in the town of Richmond. The property includes a three-bedroom family dwelling and is owned by the Respondent. The OC&I alleges that the Respondent is in violation of the RIDEM Rules Establishing Minimum Standards Relating to Location, Design, Construction and Maintenance of Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems. The violation pertains to the use of a failed septic system for the dwelling. On February 2, 2009 OC&I received records from a licensed septage hauler showing that the septic system was pumped on five (5) separate days from September 2008 through January 2009. The regulations define a failed septic system as one that is required to be pumped more than two times per year. On February 2, 2009 OC&I issued a Notice of Intent to Enforce (NIE) to the Respondent. The NIE required the Respondent to repair the failed system. As of the date of the NOV, the Respondent has failed to comply with the notice. In the NOV, OC&I ordered the Respondent to reduce the discharge of sewage to the septic system, pump the system as needed to prevent overflows, have the system inspected by a licensed designer to determine the cause of the failure, and repair the system, if necessary. OC&I assessed an administrative penalty of $600.00.

November 10, 2009 - Hazardous Waste File No. 2009 2905 HW re: Induplate LLC for property located at 1 Greystone Drive in the town of Town of North Providence. The Respondent operates a facility at the property that is used for electroplating of metal products and is registered with DEM as a large quantity hazardous waste generator. The OC&I alleges that the Respondent is in violation of the RIDEM Rules and Regulations for Hazardous Waste Management. The violations pertain to the failure to: determine if waste meets the definition of hazardous waste; label containers with the words "Hazardous Waste", the name and address of the generating facility, the USDOT shipping name, the EPA or Rhode Island waste code, the accumulation start date, and/or the hazardous waste manifest number; mark containers holding hazardous waste with the date upon which the waste first began to accumulate; transfer hazardous waste from a container in poor condition to one in good condition; equip its facility with spill control equipment of sufficient type and quantity to respond to spills of hazardous waste; store hazardous waste < 90 days; clean up and place in a container universal waste mercury containing lamps that were broken; label each container holding universal waste with one of the following phrases "Universal Waste - Mercury-Containing Lamps", or "Waste-Mercury Containing Lamps", or "Used Mercury-Containing Lamps"; and demonstrate the length of time that the universal waste has been accumulated onsite. On December 15, 2008 OC&I inspected the facility and documented the violations. At the time of the inspection, the OC&I inspector advised the Respondent of the violations and the actions necessary to correct the violations. In the NOV, OC&I ordered the Respondent to take specific actions to correct the violations and assessed an administrative penalty of $29,750.00.

November 10, 2009 - Freshwater Wetland File No. C09-0022 re: Paul Bjorkland for property located approximately 280 feet southwest of the terminus of Electronic Drive, approximately 560 feet south of the intersection of Electronic Drive and Ford Lane, Assessor's Pat 284, Lots 50 and 121 in city of Warwick. The Respondent is the owner of the property. The OC&I alleges that the Respondent is in violation of Rhode Island's Freshwater Wetlands Act and RIDEM's Rules and Regulations Governing the Administration and Enforcement of the Freshwater Wetlands Act. The violation pertains to clearing, soil disturbance, and filling (in the form of at soil material, construction equipment, vehicles, solid waste, concrete block, boards, and other materials) within 200-foot Riverbank Wetland. This activity resulted in the unauthorized alteration of 15,000 square feet of freshwater wetland. The violation was first observed during an inspection of the property on May 4, 2005. The Respondent was issued a field notice and required to restore the wetland. Inspection by OC&I on July 5, 2005 revealed that restoration was completed as required in the notice. Inspections by OC&I in September 2008 and October 2009 in response to complaints revealed the current violation. In the NOV, OC&I ordered the Respondent to restore the freshwater wetlands on the property and assessed an administrative penalty of $5,000.00.

Formal Enforcement Cases Settled or Resolved:

November 2, 2009 - Water Pollution File No. WP 07-97 re: Rhode Island Department of Transportation. The Respondent is the holder of Rhode Island Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (RIPDES) Permit No. RI0023680. The permit authorized the Respondent to discharge treated groundwater associated with the I-195 Relocation Project - Contract 9 to the Providence River. The permit required the Respondent to meet a limit of 5 ppb of Total Copper as a monthly average and daily maximum. In accordance with the permit the Respondent was required to submit to RIDEM a monthly Discharge Monitoring Report (DMR). On January 15, 2008 OC&I issued an NOV to the Respondent alleging that the Respondent violated the Water Pollution Act and RIDEM's Water Quality Regulations and RIDEM's RIPDES Regulations. RIDEM reviewed the January 2006, February 2006, May 2006, July 2006, and August 2006 DMRs. Evaluation of the DMRs revealed that the Respondent violated the permit daily maximum limit and monthly average limit for Total Copper. In the NOV, OC&I assessed an administrative penalty of $62,500.00. The Respondent filed an appeal of NOV to AAD. Prior to an administrative hearing on the NOV, OC&I and the Respondent executed a Consent Agreement to resolve the NOV. The Respondent agreed to pay an administrative penalty of $55,000.00, which was paid upon execution of the Agreement.

November 5, 2009 - Water Pollution File No. WP 05-02 re: Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation for its solid waste management facility located at 65 Shun Pike, Assessor's Plat 43, Lot 402 in the Town of Johnston. On February 1, 2005 OC&I issued an NOV to the Respondent alleging that the Respondent violated the Water Pollution Act and RIDEM's Water Quality Regulations and Rhode Island Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (RIPDES) Regulations. The violation pertained to the discharge of pollutants (in the form of inorganic sediment) from the facility to waters of the State identified as Simmons Reservoir and Cedar Swamp Brook. In the NOV the Respondent was ordered to install two additional siltation barriers in a storm water sedimentation basin at the facility, submit information relative to the use of floc logs and other chemical additives to aide in settling of sediment in the storm water basin, and submit a report prepared by a registered professional engineer that identifies alternatives for controlling sediment from the facility. In addition, the Respondent was ordered to submit a plan to remove sediment from Simmons Reservoir. OC&I assessed a penalty in the amount of $100,000.00. The Respondent filed an appeal of NOV to AAD. The Respondent and RIDEM Office of Water Resources (OWR) executed a Consent Agreement on June 25, 2009 (June Agreement) to resolve a separate appeal the Respondent filed to AAD concerning a new permit OWR issued to the Respondent on September 28, 2007. The June Agreement requires the Respondent to take specific actions to assure that the discharges from the facility receive adequate treatment and will not violate State water quality standards. Prior to an administrative hearing on the NOV, OC&I and the Respondent executed a Consent Agreement to resolve the NOV. The Respondent agreed to remove non-native sediment from the freshwater wetlands associated with Simmons Reservoir and complete two Supplemental Environmental Projects (SEPs) as full settlement of the administrative penalty. The first SEP involves the acceptance, without charge or fee, of a maximum of 8,000 tons of contaminated soil excavated from the Bay Street area in Tiverton, provided that the material meets the Respondent's specifications for alternative daily cover. The estimated cost to accept the material is $120,000.00. The Respondent has been given a credit in the amount of $55,000.00. The second SEP involves the construction, for the town of Johnston, of a water quality basin that is designed to remove sediment from storm water runoff from Shun Pike and Green Hill Road prior to the discharge of the storm water to Simmons Reservoir. The estimated cost to construct the water quality basin is approximately $97,000.00. The Respondent has been given a credit in the amount of $45,000.00.

November 10, 2009 - UST File No. 09-02650 re: Earle's Service Station, Inc. for property located at 35 Meeting House Lane, Assessor's Plat 20, Lot 14 in the town of Little Compton. The property includes a convenience store and gasoline station. On February 11, 2009 OC&I issued an NOV to the Respondent alleging that the Respondent violated the RIDEM Rules and Regulations for Underground Storage Facilities Used for Petroleum Products and Hazardous Materials. The violation pertained to the failure to submit a completed Compliance Certification Checklist, Certification Statement Form, and Return to Compliance Plan (collectively, the Compliance Certification Forms) on or before June 30, 2007 for the underground storage tanks at the facility, which tanks are used for storage of petroleum products and are registered with RIDEM. In the NOV, OC&I ordered the Respondent to submit the completed Compliance Certification Forms. OC&I assessed an administrative penalty of $3,000.00. The Respondent filed an appeal of NOV to AAD. Prior to an administrative hearing on the NOV, the Respondent complied with the Order Section of the NOV and executed a Consent Agreement with OC&I to resolve the NOV. The Respondent agreed to pay an administrative penalty of $1,000.00, which was paid upon execution of the Agreement.

November 16, 2009 - Freshwater Wetlands File No. C05-0240 re: Shirley Ellis & Ronald A. McNabb for property located approximately 150 feet north of Church Street, at utility pole number 46/324, approximately 1200 feet west of its intersection with New Kings Factory Road, Assessor's Plat 11A, Lot 39, in the Town of Richmond. The property is owned by the Respondents. On May 22, 2007 OC&I issued an NOV to the Respondents alleging that the Respondents violated the Freshwater Wetland Act and RIDEM's Freshwater Wetland Regulations. The violation pertained to filling (in the form of gravel and sand), installing a garage foundation, a canopy structure, associated building materials, clearing and creating soil disturbance activities within a 50-foot Perimeter Wetland associated with a Swamp and within a 100-foot Riverbank Wetland associated with a Stream. The activities resulted in the unauthorized alteration of approximately 4,225 square feet of freshwater wetlands. In the NOV the Respondents were ordered to restore all freshwater wetlands. OC&I assessed an administrative penalty of $3,000.00. The Respondents filed an appeal of NOV to AAD. Prior to an administrative hearing on the NOV, the Respondents complied with the Order Section of the NOV (with the exception of removal of stockade fencing, which OC&I allowed to remain) and executed a Consent Agreement with OC&I to resolve the NOV. The Respondents agreed to pay an administrative penalty of $1,500.00, which was paid upon execution of the Agreement.

Superior Court Actions Issued:

None issued this month.

Superior Court Actions Settled or Resolved:

November 13, 2009 - Septic System File No. CI96-221 and Superior Court File No. PC 09-4006 re: Plaintiff W. Michael Sullivan, Director, RIDEM vs. Defendant Exxon Mobil Oil Corporation for property located at 3079 Tower Hill Road, Assessor's Plat 18-3, Lot 20 in the town of South Kingstown. The property includes a gasoline station and convenience store. On September 30, 2005 OC&I issued an NOV to the Defendant alleging that the Defendant violated RIDEM's Rules and Regulations Establishing Minimum Standards Relating to Location, Design, Construction and Maintenance of Individual Sewage Disposal Systems. The violation pertained to the overflow of sewage from the septic system that is located on the property to the surface of the ground. In the NOV the Defendant was ordered to immediately take steps to reduce the discharge of sewage to the septic system, pump the septic system as needed to prevent overflows, and submit a written proposal for a permanent solution to the violation (which must include an inspection by a licensed designer to determine the cause of the failure) and submit an application to repair the system, if necessary. OC&I assessed an administrative penalty of $2,000.00. The Defendant did not file an appeal of the NOV with AAD, so the NOV automatically became a Final Compliance Order enforceable in Superior Court. The Defendant paid the full penalty of $2,000.00; however, no action was taken to correct the violation. On July 14, 2009 RIDEM filed a complaint in Superior Court. In the Superior Court complaint, RIDEM asked the court to order the Defendant to immediately pump the septic system to prevent sewage from overflowing to the ground and continue such pumping until the septic system is repaired, reduce the discharge of sewage to the septic system, and repair the septic system. Prior to a hearing on the complaint, the Defendant repaired the septic system, which was conformed by RIDEM on November 13, 2009.

November 25, 2009 - Septic System File No. CI05-0054 and Superior Court File No. PC 09-4010 re: Plaintiff W. Michael Sullivan, Director, RIDEM vs. Defendant Maurice J. Murphy for property located at 20 West Street, Assessor's Plat 25, Lot 37 in the town of Hopkinton. The property includes a three-bedroom single family dwelling. On November 23, 2007 OC&I issued an NOV to the Defendant alleging that the Defendant violated RIDEM's Rules and Regulations Establishing Minimum Standards Relating to Location, Design, Construction and Maintenance of Individual Sewage Disposal Systems. The violation pertained to the overflow of sewage from the septic system that is located on the property to the surface of the ground. In the NOV, OC&I ordered the Defendant to cease the discharge of sewage to the surface of the ground, pump the septic system as needed to prevent overflows, and repair the septic system. OC&I assessed an administrative penalty in the amount of $2,000.00. The Defendant did not file an appeal of the NOV with AAD, so the NOV automatically became a Final Compliance Order enforceable in Superior Court. On March 10, 2009 an inspection of the property by OC&I revealed continuing sewage overflows at the property as evidenced by fluid puddles seen on the surface of the ground and a strong sewage odor. On July 14, 2009 RIDEM filed a complaint in Superior Court. In the complaint RIDEM asked the court to order the Defendant to immediately pump the septic system to prevent sewage from overflowing to the ground and continue such pumping until the septic system is repaired, reduce the discharge of sewage to the septic system, repair the septic system and pay the full penalty of $2,000.00 assessed in the NOV. The Court Order requires Defendant to pay $2,000.00 to RIDEM within thirty days and submit an application to RIDEM within forty five days to repair the septic system. The Defendant must complete all work on the repair within one hundred twenty days of RIDEM approval.

November 25, 2009 - Septic System File No. CI 02-108 and Superior Court File No. PC 09-5287 re: Plaintiff W. Michael Sullivan, Director, RIDEM vs. Defendants Robert D. Houghton and James R. Cantara for property located at 28 Yates Avenue, Assessor's Plat 64, Lot 103 in the town of Coventry. The property includes a multi-family (four unit) rental dwelling and is currently owned by Defendant James R. Cantara. Defendant Robert D. Houghton was the former owner of the property. On August 16, 2004 OC&I issued an NOV to Defendant Houghton alleging that the Defendant violated RIDEM's Rules and Regulations Establishing Minimum Standards Relating to Location, Design, Construction and Maintenance of Individual Sewage Disposal Systems. The violations pertained to the discharge of sewage to the surface of the ground from the sewage disposal system (ISDS) for the dwelling, the discharge of laundry waste to the surface of the ground, an improper/poorly maintained cover for the ISDS and renovation of the dwelling from one family to four family without prior approval by RIDEM to determine whether the ISDS was adequate. In the NOV OC&I ordered Defendant Houghton to cease the laundry discharge, reduce the discharge of sewage and have the ISDS pumped until permanently repaired, and either remove the additional dwelling units, submit an System Suitability Determination Application to demonstrate that the ISDS is adequate (including an inspection of the ISDS by a licensed designer to determine the cause of the ISDS failure), or submit an application to replace the ISDS with one designed for a four family dwelling. OC&I assessed a penalty in the amount of $3,800.00. Defendant Houghton filed an appeal of the NOV with AAD. Defendant Houghton entered a Consent Judgment with the town of Coventry whereby the property was recognized by the town as a legal existing non-conforming three (3)-unit apartment dwelling. Defendant Houghton removed the fourth unit and removed the washing machine from the dwelling. Prior to a hearing on the NOV, OC&I and Defendant Houghton executed a Consent Agreement on August 15, 2005 to resolve the NOV. Defendant Houghton agreed to monitor and pump the ISDS as needed to prevent the discharge of sewage to the ground surface and connect the dwelling to the municipal sewerage system within 90 days or repair the ISDS. Defendant Houghton agreed to pay an administrative penalty of $2,400.00. The penalty was paid upon execution of the Consent Agreement. Defendant Cantara purchased the property on or about December 11, 2007. On March 25, 2009 an inspection of the property by OC&I revealed that no efforts were made to repair the ISDS or connect to the municipal sewerage system. On September 14, 2009 RIDEM filed a complaint in Superior Court. In the Superior Court complaint, RIDEM asked the court to order the Defendants to immediately pump the ISDS and reduce the discharge of sewage to the ISDS to prevent sewage from overflowing to the ground and continue such efforts until the ISDS is repaired, repair the ISDS and pay the balance of the $3,800.00 penalty assessed in the NOV. A Court Order was entered against Defendant Houghton that required payment of $1,200.00 within 30 days, which represents the remaining balance of the $3,800.00 penalty assessed in the NOV.

November 30, 2009 - Septic System File No. CI94-0522 and Superior Court File No. PC 09-4009 re: Plaintiff W. Michael Sullivan, Director, RIDEM vs. Defendants James Kelshaw and Jennifer Kelshaw and First Horizon Home Loan Corporation for property located at 45 Bates Avenue, Assessor's Plat 56, Lot 28 in the town of Coventry. The property includes a four-bedroom multi-unit dwelling. On July 31, 2007 OC&I issued an NOV to Defendants James and Jennifer Kelshaw alleging that the Defendants violated RIDEM's Rules and Regulations Establishing Minimum Standards Relating to Location, Design, Construction and Maintenance of Individual Sewage Disposal Systems. The violation pertained to the failure of the septic systems on the property and the discharge of laundry waste from the dwelling to the surface of the ground. In the NOV, OC&I ordered the Defendants to cease the discharge of laundry waste to the surface of the ground, pump the septic systems as needed to prevent overflows, and repair the septic systems. OC&I assessed an administrative penalty in the amount of $1,800.00. The Defendants did not file an appeal of the NOV with AAD, so the NOV automatically became a Final Compliance Order enforceable in Superior Court. On March 25, 2009 an inspection of the property by OC&I revealed that the septic systems were failed and that there was evidence of continuing sewage overflows at the property. On July 14, 2009 RIDEM filed a complaint in Superior Court. In the complaint RIDEM asked the court to order the Defendants to immediately pump the septic systems to prevent sewage from overflowing to the ground and continue such pumping until the septic systems are repaired, reduce the discharge of sewage to the septic systems, repair the septic systems and pay the full penalty of $1,800.00 assessed in the NOV. Prior to a hearing on the complaint, the property was foreclosed on by First Horizon Home Loan Corporation. The Court Order required Defendant First Horizon Home Loan Corporation to pay $800.00 to RIDEM within thirty days. The Defendant is also required to pay the remaining $1,000.00 upon the transfer of the property and requires sufficient funds to be set aside in an escrow account prior to the transfer of the property to complete all work necessary to correct the violation. The property is currently vacant.

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