Friday, February 12, 1999
Contractor found guilty of dumping hazardous waste
On Monday, William Bertrand began serving a six-month sentence for illegally dumping 1,000 tons of contaminated soil at a Carlisle residence. Unsuspecting, the unidentified homeowner had accepted Bertrand's offer of "free fill."
On January 22, in Middlesex Superior Court, Bertrand was found guilty on both counts of illegally disposing of the hazardous waste materials and interference with a remedial response action. He was sentenced to two and a half years with six months to be served in the House of Correction.
According to the case, prosecuted by assistant attorney general Pamela Talbot, Bertrand had been hired in 1995 by Sherwood Oil Company in Billerica to remove 1,200 tons of soil contaminated with petroleum products as part of a "21E" site clean-up. Bertrand, who owns and operates a small trucking company, B&M Transfer, Inc., was paid to transport the materials and pay a recycling center $28 per ton to take the material. However, Bertrand delivered less than 200 tons to the asphalt recycling plant and pocketed the $30,000.
Research by the state's Environmental Strike Force, an inter-agency enforcement body overseen by Attorney General Thomas Reilly and Secretary Robert Durand, led them to the home in Carlisle.
Department of Environmental Protection engineer Richard Chalpin said the contaminated soil remains at the site. He explained that they are asking Bertrand to pay for the clean-up but if that is impossible, the Commonwealth will do the work and attempt to recover the costs from Bertrand over time.
DEP is responsible for the oversight of hazardous waste sites and Carlisle boards have little authority in such matters. DEP informed the board of health about the site last year and asked that they protect the identity of the homeowners. Since the homeowners were viewed as innocent victims who were helpful in prosecuting the case, Chalpin said they were "respecting their wishes."
Local officials and Chalpin did not view the waste as an imminent health threat. The soil is contaminated with fuel oil which is less mobile than methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) which can quickly permeate the soil and contaminate groundwater. As of next week, Chalpin said the case will be formally listed, making the information accessible to the public. Assessment of the site should proceed and he is hopeful that clean-up will be completed by the fall.
© 1999 The Carlisle Mosquito