MassDEP Offers Manufacturers Amnesty Under Toxics Use Reduction Act, a Likely Prelude to Increased Enforcement

Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection

If you are a Massachusetts manufacturer suspected of using toxic chemicals in your production process, you may have been among the hundreds of recipients in recent weeks of a notice letter from MassDEP about mandatory chemical use reporting under TURA, G.L. c. 21I.  Passed in 1989, TURA seeks to encourage manufacturers, processors and users of toxic substances to reduce their use.  The regulations require annual reporting of listed chemicals each June and the filing of a toxics use reduction plan every other year if the facility meets certain thresholds.

The regulations are by nature highly technical.  In addition to consulting with legal counsel, you will want the assistance of a certified Toxics Use Reduction Planner.  They can assist you with completing the necessary paperwork and identifying the toxic substances that require reporting each year under TURA.

It will come as no surprise that TURA also requires the payment of an annual fee to MassDEP along with the report.  The fee is based on the number of employees and the amount of listed chemicals manufactured, processed or otherwise used.

If you are not filing an annual report as required under TURA, now is the time to remedy that oversight during the amnesty program, which expires on June 30, 2016.  Under the program, you will be required to identify and report any use of TURA-listed chemicals over the reporting threshold and pay one year of past-owed fees, along with the mandatory $1,000 late fee.   MassDEP will be conducting formal inspections and audits to determine compliance.  Expect significant sanctions, fines and enforcement actions if MassDEP discovers TURA violations after the amnesty program, especially if you are among the lucky recipients of a recent TURA notice from MassDEP.

If you have questions, please contact David McCay, an experienced Massachusetts environmental litigator at Mirick O’Connell at (508) 791-8500, or a certified Toxics Use Reduction Planner, a list of which is maintained by MassDEP and available here:  http://www.mass.gov/eea/docs/dep/toxics/turpdir.pdf.

About David McCay

Dave is a partner in the firm’s litigation and land use groups where he assists clients in the resolution of complex real estate, environmental and business disputes. He also represents property owners and developers in local land use permitting matters. Dave is active in the Boroughs+ region serving as the Chair of the Southborough Economic Development Committee and as immediate Past Chair of the Marlborough Regional Chamber of Commerce. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of the 495/MetroWest Partnership, the Advisory Board of the MetroWest Economic Research Center at Framingham State University, and the Marlborough Economic Development Corporation. Dave lives in Southborough with his wife and two sons.
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