General Laws of Massachusetts - Chapter 21G Massachusetts Water Management Act - Section 14 Enforcement orders; civil administrative penalties; actions by attorney general; punishment

Section 14. The department may issue such orders as are reasonably necessary to aid in the enforcement of the provisions of this chapter. The orders shall include, but shall not be limited to, orders modifying, suspending or revoking permits, well driller certifications under section 20 of this chapter, and orders requiring persons to cease any activity which is in violation of the provisions of this chapter or any regulation adopted hereunder. The department may, in its order, require compliance with such terms and conditions as are reasonably necessary to effect the purposes of this chapter. If the department finds, in accordance with the procedures established in section sixteen of chapter twenty-one A and the regulations adopted thereunder, that any person is not in compliance with any order issued pursuant to this section, it shall assess a civil administrative penalty on such person as provided in said section sixteen of said chapter twenty-one A and the regulations adopted thereunder. The penalty may be assessed whether or not the violation was willful. In determining the amount of the civil penalty, the department shall consider the willfulness of the violation, damage or injury to the water resources and other water users, the cost of restoration of the water resources, the cost to the commonwealth of enforcing the provisions of this chapter against such person and other relevant factors.

In addition to collecting any civil penalties recoverable under this section, the department may request the attorney general to bring an action in the superior court to restrain, prevent or enjoin any conduct prohibited by this chapter or to compel action to comply immediately and fully with any order issued by the department. Except in cases of emergency where, in the opinion of the court, immediate abatement of the unlawful conduct is required to protect the public interest, the court may in its decree fix a reasonable time during which the person responsible for the unlawful conduct may abate and correct the violation. The expense of the proceeding shall be recoverable from the violator in such manner as may now or hereafter be provided by law.

It shall be unlawful for any person to:—

(1) Violate or assist in the violation of any of the provisions of this chapter or of any rules and regulations adopted hereunder;

(2) Fail to comply with any order by the department;

(3) Make a water withdrawal contrary to the terms and conditions of the chapter, or of any regulation adopted or permit or order issued hereunder; or

(4) Attempt to obtain a permit by misrepresentation or failure to disclose all relevant facts.

Any person who engages in unlawful conduct as defined in this section shall, upon conviction, for each separate offense, pay a fine of not less than one thousand dollars, nor more than ten thousand dollars or be imprisoned for a period of not more than one hundred and eighty days, or both, or shall be subject to a civil penalty not to exceed twenty-five thousand dollars per day for each day such offense occurs or continues. Each day of continued violation of any provision of this chapter or of any regulation adopted or permit or order issued hereunder shall constitute a separate offense.

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Last modified: September 11, 2015