Unpermitted Salvage Yard Leaks Chemicals, Fined $29,000

MONTPELIER – An unpermitted salvage yard operating in Vershire is now required to pay a $29,000 penalty after failing to follow orders to clean-up oil and gasoline spills and wastes on its property.

The Agency of Natural Resources announced today the issuance of a Judgment Order against Allen LaFlamme, owner of Allen’s Affordable Auto Salvage in Vershire, for multiple violations of Vermont Salvage Yard and Hazardous Waste laws. Mr. LaFlamme must pay a $29,000 penalty and comply with corrective actions.

Agency personnel found multiple hazardous waste violations during inspections in 2011 and 2013. Both inspections revealed multiple areas of oil-stained soil surrounded by visibly stressed vegetation which are indications of improperly managed oil. Personnel also discovered that the salvage yard burned wood chips used to absorb oil in wood stoves located on the property, and disposed of gasoline-contaminated water by evaporating the water portion in an open fire.

Mr. LaFlamme had also been operating his salvage yard without a Certificate of Registration from the Vermont State Salvage Yard Program for some time and that certificate is required under state law. Mr. LaFlamme estimates that his business currently has over 800 salvage vehicles on the property. A certificate of registration is required if four or more junk motor vehicles are located on a property. 

The Agency issued a Notice of Alleged Violation (NOAV) to Mr. LaFlamme following each site visit. The NOAVs included instructions for bringing the business into compliance with the applicable salvage yard law, including that LaFlamme hire a consultant to conduct a site investigation of the stained soils. To date, Mr. LaFlamme has neither obtained a Certificate of Registration nor completed the site investigation process.

In August of 2015, the Agency filed an Administrative Order with the Environmental Court against Mr. LaFlamme. When the parties were unable to reach a resolution, the Court conducted a one-day trial on August 26, 2016. As a result of the evidence presented at trial, the Environmental Court upheld each of the violations alleged by the Agency. In the Judgment Order issued on September 1, 2016, the Court imposed a penalty of $29,000.  In addition to the penalty, the Court ordered LaFlamme to comply with all corrective actions contained in the Agency’s Administrative Order within sixty calendar days.

Allen’s Affordable Auto Salvage has been owned and operated by Mr. LaFlamme in Vershire since the 1980s.

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