SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) has fined Karma Environmental Services, Inc. for violations during asbestos abatement activities at the former Springfield YMCA.

The Massachusetts-licensed asbestos abatement contractor from Quincy has been fined $43,500 after MassDEP discovered the violations during an inspection at the property located at 275 Chestnut Street in Springfield. Multiple violations were observed involving work practices and management of asbestos.

Unannounced compliance inspections were done by MassDEP between January 18 and March 11 in 2022. During their inspections, MassDEP observed noncompliance with the following:

• Asbestos-containing waste material packaging requirements
• Applying water in amounts which caused run-off and leakage outdoors and indoors
• Breeches in the outermost boundary of the work area
• Failure of the HEPA system to maintain -0.02 column inches of water pressure differential within the work area
• Failure to keep asbestos-containing waste material adequately wet during abatement

“This penalty could have been avoided entirely if Karma had followed industry-standard work practices and MassDEP guidance on removal of asbestos.” said Michael Gorski, director of MassDEP’s Western Regional Office in Springfield. “Asbestos is a known carcinogen and following the required work practices is imperative to protect workers, tenants, and the public. As this settlement demonstrates, failure to follow the asbestos regulations will result in significant penalties, as well as escalated cleanup, decontamination, and monitoring costs.”

Karma Environmental will pay $22,500 in penalties and MassDEP has agreed to suspend $21,000 pending future compliance with the terms.

Property owners or contractors that have questions about the handling, removal, packaging, storing and disposal of asbestos-containing materials can contact the MassDEP Regional office for assistance.