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Release Date: 10/01/1998
Contact Information: Peyton Fleming, EPA Press Office (617-918-1008)

BOSTON - The Genzyme Corp. in Cambridge has agreed to undertake water quality studies in the Charles River and the Mystic River watershed as part of a settlement of an enforcement case initiated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The settlement stems from an enforcement complaint against the company after EPA staff found numerous hazardous waste violations at two Genzyme facilities in Cambridge in August 1996. Among other problems, Genzyme was cited for failing to properly label hazardous waste containers, failing to have a hazardous waste contingency plan and failing to have an adequate training plan. EPA conducted the inspection as part of a New England-wide initiative to improve environmental quality in urban areas.

The settlement requires that Genzyme pay an $18,956 penalty and fund three Supplemental Environmental Projects (SEPs) worth an estimated $106,900. Among the environmental projects is a three-month water quality assessment that will be done next summer in the Charles River. Genzyme will provide the Charles River Watershed Association with equipment and laboratory support for the monitoring of dry-weather conditions, seasonal water quality changes and changes that are resulting from cleanup efforts in the river. The monitoring effort will be coordinated with EPA.

"Genzyme's sampling efforts will provide us with valuable information as we move closer and closer to our goal of a fishable and swimmable Charles River by the year 2005," said John P. DeVillars, administrator of the EPA's New England Office who launched the Clean Charles 2005 Initiative three years ago. "It's gratifying that we've negotiated a settlement that allows Genzyme to do something positive for the local community, instead of simply saddling them with a hefty fine."

The settlement also requires Genzyme to support the Mystic River Watershed Coalition by undertaking efforts to map storm water outflows and develop water sampling programs in the watershed. The company will also help coordinate construction of an interim fish ladder between the Lower and Upper Mystic Lakes.

The settlement also requires Genzyme to complete a pollution prevention assessment at four Genzyme facilities and to implement those recommendations that are reasonable and feasible. The facilities are in Cambridge (two), Allston and Framingham.