Following an outcry from Braintree officials over an earlier settlement agreement, the US Environmental Protection Agency and Clean Harbors have entered a revised agreement that will help Braintree purchase an aerial platform fire truck.
The EPA in 2007 accused Norwell-based Clean Harbors of numerous violations at its Braintree hazardous waste facility, including failure to properly maintain waste tanks, improper storage, and inadequate containment.
Shortly after the violations were discovered, Braintree discussed receiving a $900,000 hazardous-materials fire truck 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 the hazardous waste permit, pay a $650,000 fine, and plant about $1 million of trees in low-income areas of Boston.
Under the revised agreement, the EPA announced Wednesday, Clean Harbors agreed to pay at least $450,000 to help Braintree purchase the fire truck. The fine remained the same, but the spending on trees in Boston now is at least $612,500, which would plant about 800 trees, the EPA said.
The truck will be owned and operated by Braintree, but available for emergency response in surrounding South Shore communities, the EPA said.
"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."
Sullivan said it's a tangible win for the city, which will greatly benefit from having a fire truck to better serve the community.
Despite the satisfaction that comes with the win, Braintree officials maintain that this process never should have happened.
"Obviously we’re very pleased. But we never should have been put in this position to begin with. I say that with respect to other authorities, and I remain magnanimous, but we had real frustration that we have overcome to get a significant and positive result for Braintree," Sullivan said.
Although the company will not pay for the full price of the truck, estimated at $800,000 - $900,000, it's an accomplishment to receive at least 50 percent of the cost.
Similar to the previous process, there will be a 30-day comment period until the new agreement is finalized.
"When they made their initial findings back on Aug 15, we mobilized, …and all of these [local and state] groups moved to coalesce behind the town’s position. That comprehensive response results in what we have today. There is a 30-day comment period on this filing, and now we will file support," Sullivan said.
In the EPA press release Wednesday, Curt Spalding, regional administrator of the agency's New England office, 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 some Environmental Justice neighborhoods of Boston.”