EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

January 30, 2013

MassDEP fines Methuen woman $43K for oil spill

BOSTON — The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection has issued a $42,975 penalty to Rubia Avila of Methuen for violating environmental regulations at her two-family residential rental property at 34-36 Cliftwood Street in Springfield.

On Aug. 26, 2012, MassDEP responded to Avila’s property in conjunction with Springfield public safety officials, to investigate a complaint from a neighbor that strong fuel oil odors were present. MassDEP personnel observed that two above ground oil storage tanks had been dismantled at the property, and had been moved from the basement into the back yard.

Fuel oil had been spilled within the basement of the residence, and washed into a dirt area cut into the floor. Fuel oil had also been spilled on paved surfaces and soil outside the residence. MassDEP also observed that fuel oil and fuel oil sludge had been discharged into four holes that had been hand-excavated in the backyard.

The next day, MassDEP personnel met with Avila, and determined that employees of hers had dismantled the storage tanks and caused the oil spillage. City of Springfield permits necessary for removal of the tanks, and other ongoing renovations at the property had not been obtained by Avila.

She was ordered by MassDEP to immediately arrange for cleanup of the oil spill. She subsequently arranged for complete cleanup of the spill, and has submitted required documentation to MassDEP.

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