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Sandblasting Company Agrees to $5,000 Fine Over Lead Contamination at Fall River Dance Studio

Release Date: 10/09/2002
Contact Information: Andrew Spejewski, EPA Press Office, 617-918-1014

BOSTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced that D&D Sandblasting of Somerset, Mass. has agreed to pay a $5,363 fine for failing to properly test and identify lead-containing hazardous waste during renovations of a building in Fall River in August and September 2001. Lead-based paint debris generated by D&D Sandblasting contaminated a dance studio located in the building, triggering a shutdown of the studio while it was cleaned.

"Lead paint is one of the biggest environmental hazards we face in New England," said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator for EPA's New England Office. "Anyone removing lead paint needs to be sure that it is done properly."

During sandblasting of the building at 275 Martine Street, D&D Sandblasting generated large amounts of lead-containing debris. D&D failed to properly test the debris and identify it as a hazardous material. As a result, the paint debris was included among 8.9 tons of waste shipped to a solid waste landfill that is not licensed to accept hazardous waste. Lead dust and debris also contaminated large parts of the building, including the dance studio, which taught children under age 6 and employed a pregnant dance director.

When a building owner hires a contractor who produces hazardous waste, both the owner and contractor can be liable as co-generators.

After discovering the contamination, EPA issued an order on September 4, 2001, to the owners of the facility requiring cleanup of the lead contamination. The dance studio remained closed during the cleanup.