Littleton’s The Point owner cited by state for groundwater discharge permit violations – Lowell Sun
LITTLETON – Sam Park, director of The Point plaza in Littleton, has been cited in an administrative order from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection for alleged violations of the Clean Waters Act.
According to the administrative order issued to Park on April 26, Beaver Brook Wastewater Treatment Facility LLC, The Point facility responsible for managing the plaza’s sewer system, did not meet MassDEP’s standards for wastewater treatment. regulations on groundwater discharges.
The report states that construction of the facility was to be completed in two phases, each allowing successively larger flow limits. Phase I was scheduled to end on June 1, 2018, but that did not happen. MassDEP worked with Park to develop a new plan for the completion of the project and asked him to submit monthly reports on the progress of the project.
On January 10, 2020, MassDEP was made aware of the sewage backflow events at The Point, which Park had not reported to the state. A Beaver Brook agent told MassDEP that Tavern in the Square, a restaurant at The Point, has its kitchen equipment directly connected to the sewer line, and not to grease traps, as shown on the restaurant’s plans. . According to the Beaver Brook permit, however, he is responsible for the maintenance of the grease traps, as well as “all sewers, pressure lines, pumping stations … and treatment units of the licensed facility”, as the ‘indicates the letter.
After multiple construction delays due to difficulties obtaining financing, Beaver Brook was finally granted an extension until September 30, 2020 to complete Phase II of the project. Phase II, establishing a design flow limit of 80,000 gallons per day, is still not complete.
Shortly after the pandemic struck in March 2020, Beaver Brook alerted DEP that he would not be able to complete the project before its new deadline, and throughout negotiations in 2020 to find a new date. limit, Beaver Brook “continued to submit monthly reports to MassDEP that did not disclose any operational issues” to The Point.
On October 23, 2020, when MassDEP went to perform a site inspection “in response to persistent complaints,” a MassDEP spokesperson said in an email from former SoVital Fitness owner Kerri Cotter, the The operator of the treatment facility told inspectors they routinely transport the wastewater to other facilities for treatment. After reviewing the records in early 2021, MassDEP employees determined that Beaver Brook had pumped over 2.5 million gallons of wastewater from its facilities and transported it to other facilities for treatment and disposal.
The letter alleges that Park “made incomplete and misleading statements in license certifications” and other required reports.
The letter directs Park’s group to no longer bypass wastewater treatment, limit flows in the facility, notify all tenants within 10 business days of April 26 of the flow restriction and submit weekly reports to MassDEP.
In response to questions about how this activity has gone undetected for years at Beaver Brook, a spokesperson for MassDEP said in an email that “if the operator of the treatment system bypasses the treatment and doesn’t not tell us, it’s hard to know this type of activity is unless you’re on the spot when it happens. Once we found out about the bypass situation we started to deal with it and it led to order. “
When contacted for comment, Park said his team was aware of two issues affecting the sewer system: “wastewater octane rating,” as he described it, and voltage. unforeseen on the system from rush hour, Friday and Saturday night, due to the popularity of The Point restaurants.
He added that his team had been evaluating the situation and potential solutions since December, and said a third-party engineer had examined the system and found only those two issues. He said he submitted new plans for the system last Friday and was awaiting approval from MassDEP.
He said Phase II of the original plan was intended to support buildings that had yet to be constructed, and the departure of a lender in the wake of the pandemic left him scrambling to find a new one. He said he would not construct the new buildings if the sewerage issues were not resolved.
Park acknowledged that pumping occurs at the facility, at his own expense, in anticipation of peak flow periods on weekend nights to avoid overflow issues.
Regarding the grease trap issue at Tavern in the Square, Park said his group approved the plan for the restaurant with properly installed grease traps and the proper installation of the traps according to the approved plan was the responsibility of the owner. of the restaurant. He has since worked with Tavern in the Square to make sure their grease traps are properly installed.
“The problems of Phase II will be a different story. This is a separate issue that we are focusing on, but it is not what is critical at the moment, ”he said, explaining that the two aforementioned issues were more urgent.
Cotter, the plaintiff in this case who alleges Park’s negligence caused her gymnasium to be flooded with sewage in September 2019, said in an email that she hoped “ it will give to current businesses the benefit of a more truthful, fair and good faith partnership in progress. before. … Every business must be able to choose what works best for them to right these wrongs. “
Employees at other businesses at The Point, including Tavern in the Square, MetroRock and Spavita, said they didn’t notice any plumbing or sewer issues at The Point.
In response to questions about Cotter and his company, Park said that “the sewer plant is literally three stories below this building, so it’s physically impossible for any problem with the plant to get back to one. buildings, quite frankly, before backing up all over the street. He said the issues with his business were unrelated to this sewer problem, while admitting that “it’s possible that the grease contributed to a blockage in Building C (where SoVital was located), but it was certainly not the sewage treatment plant.
Nick Lawler, general manager of Littleton’s electrical, lighting and water departments, said in an email that he was aware of the quote and “at this time there is no indication that this exceedance of permit had an adverse effect on water quality in Littleton “and that he would continue to monitor the situation.
City administrator Anthony Ansaldi referred The Sun to Lawler’s comment. Nashoba’s Associate Health Boards, of which Littleton is a member, did not respond to multiple requests for comment.