On November 13, 2020, The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) issued a Do Not Use Order to Boston Clear Water, LLC which owns and operates Pocahontas Spring Water, a public water supply (PWS).
Boston Clear Water has been owned by Anthony Gattineri since 2014. Anthony Gattineri and his wife Lisa Cincotta Gattineri’s daughter Michelle Gattineri is married to Congressman Jake Auchincloss (D-MA). Anthony Gattineri contributed $2,800 and his wife Lisa Cincotta Gattineri also contributed $2,800 to the Auchincloss congressional election campaign in 2020.
In a cover letter accompanying the Do Not Use Order, MassDEP stated that it “has determined that the water from your water system could pose an unacceptable risk to public health unless immediate action is taken” and instructed Pocahontas Spring Water to address this public health risk.
The Order declared that it will remain in effect until it is terminated in writing by MassDEP which will happen when it’s been properly demonstrated that the principal incident or reason for the issuance of the Order has been corrected. The Order also stated that on “Nov. 12, 2020, the PWS was informed that E. coli was detected in a ground water source sample taken on Nov. 10, 2020.”
It went on to say that MassDEP verbally informed Pocahontas Spring Water “of the verification of fecal indicator detection in the PWS source water” at 10:30 a.m. on November 13. At 2 p.m. on that same day, MassDEP verbally informed Pocahontas Spring Water of the verification of a fecal indicator detection in the PWS source water and also directed Pocahontas Spring Water to immediately cease serving water to the public.
The presence of fecal indicators in the water supply implies that the water could be contaminated with human or animal wastes which can cause symptoms like diarrhea, cramps, nausea, and headaches. Infants, young children, the elderly, and those with severely compromised immune systems are at an increased risk and are recommended to seek advice from their healthcare providers about drinking the water as it could cause very serious conditions or even death.
While E. coli is usually harmless, it can cause illnesses including meningitis, septicemia, urinary tract, and intestinal infections. More recently, a new strain of E. coli has been known to cause severe disease and could be fatal in small children and the elderly.
The order directed Pocahontas Spring Water to do several things, the first being that they should immediately cease providing or vending drinking water to the public and that “PWS shall post a notice at the PWS notifying all consumers to discard any water purchased and/or ice juice, formula, and uncooked foods that were prepared with water from the PWS’ distribution system on or after Nov. 10, 2020, and also to “notify the chief municipal office(s), local board(s) of health, and other emergency personnel, as appropriate, in the PWS service area of the contamination and the planned response.”
Pocahontas Spring Water is to “immediately begin to implement the PWS’ Emergency Response Plan” and “to take all necessary actions to identify and remedy any actual or potential causes of contamination.”
Once they have properly rectified the situation, Pocahontas Spring Water is to “submit to MassDEP and the local Board of Health a certification that it has fully complied with public notification regulations.”
Failure to comply with the Order could result in fines and civil penalties of up to $25,000 and imprisonment for up to one year for each day during which a violation covered by the Order continues or is repeated.
Any aggrieved parties can “within three days after service of the Order, give written notice to appeal to MassDEP and file a petition for a jury in the superior court in the county where the premises affected are located.”
Boston Clear Water and Anthony Gattineri are no strangers to litigation and controversy. Gattineri and Boston Clear Water filed a federal civil rights lawsuit in July 2020 with the U.S. District Court – Massachusetts alleging that the the Town of Lynnfield had “conspired to discriminate against (the) plaintiffs, based upon Gattineri’s ethnicity and religion,” and that, “through the combined efforts of municipal departments and agencies and individuals working therein, (the Town) has implemented a policy of intimidation, harassment and discrimination towards plaintiffs, causing plaintiffs to suffer tremendous damage to their reputation and enormous monetary losses.”
In 2021, the court dismissed all of Anthony Gattineri and Boston Clear Water’s federal claims.
Prior to this lawsuit against the town, in 2014, shortly after acquiring the property Anthony Gattineri and Boston Water Company angered local residents and neighbors citing “fear and intimidation” as he sought to build out the operations of the water company.
Also in 2014, Anthony Gattineri was indicted for concealing the ownership interest of Charles Lightbody, a convicted felon and New England Mafia associate, who was a partner in a land deal with Steve Wynn’s gaming company Wynn Resorts. The defendants sold land that is the current site of Encore Boston Harbor, a resort and casino located in Everett, Massachusetts owned by Realty Income and operated by Wynn Resorts.
Anthony Gattineri and two other defendants were each found not guilty of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.