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Braintree to get $450,000 as part of revised EPA-Clean Harbors settlement

Clean Harbors to help pay cost

Following an outcry from Braintree officials over an earlier settlement, the US Environmental Protection Agency and Clean Harbors last week entered a revised agreement that will help Braintree purchase an aerial platform firetruck.

The EPA in 2007 accused Clean Harbors, which is based in Norwell, of numerous violations at its Braintree hazardous-waste facility, including failure to properly maintain tanks and improper storage of waste.

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Shortly after the violations were discovered, Braintree officials discussed receiving an aerial platform firetruck, to help with hazardous-material spills, from Clean Harbors.

But when an agreement was announced last August, Braintree was left out.

Under that accord, Clean Harbors agreed to comply with a waste-analysis plan that exceeded the requirements of its permit, pay a $650,000 fine, and provide about $1 million to plant trees in low-income areas of Boston.

Under the revised agreement, announced by the EPA last Wednesday, Clean Harbors agreed to pay at least $450,000 to help Braintree purchase the firetruck. The fine remains the same, and the spending on trees in Boston now is $612,500, which would plant about 800 trees, the EPA said.

The truck, whose cost is estimated at $800,000 to $900,000, will be owned and operated by Braintree, but available for emergency response in surrounding South Shore communities, the EPA said. This type of truck has a staging bucket, or platform, that is larger than those on ladder trucks.

“It’s obviously a very significant accomplishment for Braintree,’’ said Braintree Mayor Joseph Sullivan. “When you’re up against federal agencies saying you don’t have a role and you’re not recognized as part of an original agreement, you have to fight it. And we had the great assistance of Congressman [Steven] Lynch, Senator Scott Brown, and Senator John Kerry’s office. We pushed back.’’

Still, there’s some lingering dissatisfaction with the process.

“Obviously we’re very pleased,’’ Sullivan said. “But we never should have been put in this position to begin with. I say that with respect to other authorities, . . . but we had real frustration that we have overcome to get a significant and positive result for Braintree.’’

As with the previous agreement, there will be a 30-day comment period before this settlement is made final.

“When they made their initial findings back on Aug. 15, we mobilized. . . . There is a 30-day comment period on this filing, and now we will file support,’’ Sullivan said.

In the EPA statement released Wednesday, Curt Spalding, the agency’s regional administrator, said: “I am pleased that this revised settlement will provide important public safety benefits to the citizens of Braintree, as well as clean air and other benefits to residents in . . . Boston.’’

Jessica Bartlett can be reached at jessica.may.bartlett@gmail.com
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