Somerset Scrap Facility Settles Pollution Complaints
SOMERSET — A former scrap metal facility operating at Somerset's Brayton Point has settled claims from the state Attorney General's office that it illegally discharged industrial stormwater and emitted dust and noise pollution into the neighborhood.
Pending federal court approval, the $300,000 settlement will address allegations that three companies violated the federal Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act as well as the Massachusetts Clean Air Act, the A.G.'s office stated in a release Wednesday.
The companies involved in the settlement are the scrap metal facility operators Eastern Metal Recycling Terminal, LLC and Patriot Stevedoring and Logistics, LLC, as well as property owner Brayton Point, LLC.
According to the A.G.'s office, the companies violated state and federal environmental regulations by illegally discharging industrial stormwater into Mount Hope Bay and regularly emitting excessive dust and noise pollution.
If approved, most of the settlement will go towards improving access to Mount Hope Bay, as well as enhancing its water quality, the office noted.
Brayton Point History
Residents of the nearby Brayton Point neighborhood had fought lengthy legal battles with the companies over the pollution, which they said blanketed homes in the area in dust.
The A.G.’s office alleges that the dust from the facility disturbed the residents’ everyday lives — and that several residents, including children, had new or worsening respiratory issues since the scrap metal facility began operations.
The Brayton Point scrap metal facility stopped operating in March 2022 following a state land court decision in favor of the residents.
Once the site of one of New England’s largest coal-fired power plants, the facility started recycling scrap metal operations after the coal plant was decommissioned, with the its towers imploding exactly four years ago today.
The site will now be dedicated for offshore wind uses.
President Biden visited the site last summer to tout his administration's clean energy initiatives.
As part of the settlement, the companies will pay $150,000 to the town of Somerset, $25,000 to the town of Swansea, and $25,000 to the nonprofit Greater Fall River Re-Creation, which provides programs to economically disadvantaged youths in the area.
The state will also receive $100,000 to offset the costs of the A.G.'s office investigation and for future monitoring of the companies for compliance with regulations.
Comments on the Settlement
"I along with the team are proud of this settlement and grateful for the continued advocacy of the residents and their partnership," said Attorney General Andrea Campbell.
"This settlement will improve the water quality in Mount Hope Bay and provide the impacted communities with a cleaner and healthier environment," she added.
"We will continue to take on companies that put the safety and health of our residents at risk."
Brayton Point resident Kathy Souza said she hopes that the settlement ends what she calls "a really difficult time."
She added, "I am very thankful for the residents of the region who fought daily for years for our fundamental rights for clean air and water, and for the Attorney General’s Office for their unwavering support."