Contractor Pays $150,000 to Resolve Complaint it Mishandled Asbestos at Haverhill Elderly Housing

A polling location at the community center at Kennedy Circle, Haverhill. (WHAV News photograph.)

A Webster contractor is paying $150,000 to settle allegations it mishandled asbestos during a roof replacement and painting project at Haverhill’s Kennedy Circle elderly housing complex.

Attorney General Maura Healey said Tuesday the consent judgement with WPI Construction was filed in Suffolk Superior Court and resolves charges the company violated the state’s clean air law and regulations governing asbestos work by failing to properly handle, transport, and store asbestos-containing material and waste.

“Contractors who work with asbestos must carefully comply with our important environmental and safety regulations, especially when they are working in places where vulnerable residents live,” Healey said in a statement. “Today’s settlement requires this contractor to properly train its employees on how to handle this dangerous material so that they do not risk public health in the future.”

Kennedy Circle, off Brown Street, is comprised of 80 apartments. The complex is owned by the Haverhill Housing Authority.

Healey’s office said WPI was aware that the buildings contained asbestos when it began the construction project and conducted the work without notifying the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection ahead of time. According to the complaint, WPI employees left asbestos-contaminated debris on the ground around the buildings and sent debris to facilities not equipped to handle asbestos waste. The employees also allegedly transported asbestos-containing waste material from Haverhill to its Webster facility and back in an open-topped trailer without wetting and containing it to prevent emissions. The complaint further alleges employees left an unsecured and open dumpster of dry asbestos waste at the housing complex.

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