The state is penalizing two railroad companies for failing to follow safe waste management practices.
The Department of Environmental Protection is fining Pan Am Railways and the Boston & Maine Corporation $90,000 for leaving behind old rail ties in multiple western Massachusetts towns.
MassDEP spokeswoman Katherine Sceeba told 22News Pan AM and Boston & Maine signed an agreement with them in 2013, requiring them to follow a waste management plan, that includes the proper disposal of rail ties.
Sceeba said they issued them fines after finding large Pan Am and Boston and Maine rail tie piles in Greenfield, Buckland, and Hatfield.
Thousands of Pan AM rail ties caught fire in June of 2017 in a gravel pit on Route 142 in Northfield.
“If they are stacking the ties in any community, they have to notify the community of what’s going on,” said Chief Skip Dunnell, Northfield Fire Department. “Because there is an environmental impact and a fire-related impact.”
Chief Dunnell told 22News the rail ties had been sitting in the gravel pit for more than eight months and Pan Am never notified the town they were stockpiling their rail ties there.
Dunnell said rail ties can be very susceptible to fires since they are soaked with tar.