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Masonic Health Center Agrees to Pay Civil Penalty of $162,500 For Violations of Federal Clean Water Act, Reports U.S. Attorney

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Yahoo! Finance

Press Release Source: U.S. Attorney

OVERLOOK MASONIC HEALTH CENTER, INC., Agrees to Pay Civil Penalty of $162,500 For Violations of Federal Clean Water Act, Reports U.S. Attorney

Tuesday January 18, 3:32 pm ET

BOSTON, Jan. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- United States Attorney Michael J. Sullivan and Robert W. Varney, Regional Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, announced today that OVERLOOK MASONIC HEALTH CENTER, INC., formerly Masonic Nursing Home, Inc. ("Masonic"), has agreed to pay $162,500 in civil penalties to resolve allegations that the company discharged pollutants from its nursing home facility in Charlton, Massachusetts in violation of federal water pollution laws.

The settlement is contained in a consent decree that was filed in federal district court this week, along with a civil complaint. According to the complaint, from before 1998 through October 2, 2003, MASONIC operated a waste water treatment facility that treated sanitary sewage from MASONIC's rest home and nursing facilities in Charlton and discharged waste water to an unnamed tributary of the Quinebaug River. A joint state and federal discharge permit imposed limitations on the discharge of various types of pollutants from the facility.

The complaint alleges that for at least five years prior to October 2, 2003, MASONIC repeatedly violated the terms and conditions of its permit by discharging pollutants, including biochemical oxygen demand, total suspended solids, pH, residual chlorine, fecal coliform, total phosphorus, total ammonia nitrogen, and pollutants causing acute and chronic toxicity, in excess of the limitations established in the permit for these pollutants. MASONIC also failed to monitor its effluent as required by the permit. Starting in 1995, MASONIC began considering options for either replacing its obsolete treatment facility or constructing a sewer connection to the Town of Charlton municipal sewer system. MASONIC neither upgraded its treatment facility nor took appropriate steps to mitigate the violations until October 2, 2003, when it finally connected to the municipal sewer system, following compliance orders issued eight months earlier by the EPA and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection.

The case was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney George B. Henderson in Sullivan's Civil Division, and Margery Adams, EPA Senior Enforcement Attorney.

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