State upholds Title 5 violations, lowers fines

A recommendation from the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) concludes Joe Alosso, Oak Bluffs wastewater plant manager, violated septic system regulations on his own property, but recommends fines already assessed be reduced.

The dispute, now six years old, stems from a Title 5 septic system Mr. Alosso had installed on his property to serve his new home.

The DEP Office of Appeals upheld an earlier ruling that said Mr. Alosso was responsible for four violations. The recommendation called the fines excessive, and ordered the original penalties totaling $19,250, lowered to $12,559.

“I recommend a downward adjustment,” wrote the presiding officer in his recommendation, “because other third parties with specialized knowledge and expertise performed the majority of the conduct that constituted the factual bases of the violations.”

The recommendation is now in the hands of the DEP commissioner, who could accept, reject, or modify the ruling.

“Based on her decision, we have the option to appeal to superior court if we feel it’s still excessive or unfair,” Mr. Alosso said. “We hired state licensed professional people who should know how to do this stuff. It’s really too bad the homeowner would be held responsible. It’s absolutely egregious on the part of the DEP”