Operator of Two Salvage Yards Fined for Failing to Secure Permits

The Agency of Natural Resources announced today that Andrew Mitchell is to pay $9,937 for operating properties in both West Burke and Lyndonville as salvage yards without first obtaining state and local permits.

Salvage yards provide important waste management services to Vermonters by reusing and recycling materials from junk automobiles, including hazardous waste like battery acid, gasoline and other vehicle fluids. If released to the environment, hazardous materials like these can negatively impact public health by infiltrating drinking water, or damage the environment by saturating soils and groundwater. Due to the inherent risk in managing hazardous waste, Salvage Yard businesses must comply with State Hazardous Waste Management Regulations. Additionally, Vermont salvage yards must hold a municipal Certificate of Approved Location (COAL), which considers appropriate siting of the business, including its proximity to schools, neighbors, and drinking water sources. Once a salvage yard operator secures a COAL, a state-level Salvage Yard Permit is required annually.

“Salvage yards and other hazardous waste generators have a responsibility to operate in compliance with laws that protect public health and the environment,” says Emily Boedecker, Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation. “We require annual permitting so the Salvage Yard Program can ensure that these important businesses have the tools and support necessary to comply with Vermont law.” 

In the summer of 2015, Agency personnel inspected Mr. Mitchell’s West Burke property and found an active salvage yard with a car-crushing unit in operation. Mr. Mitchell had not secured a COAL from the municipality to operate a salvage yard at this property, and had not obtained a permit with DEC’s Salvage Yard Program. The Agency issued a Notice of Alleged Violation (NOAV) with directives to bring the property into compliance. After a follow-up NOAV was issued, Mr. Mitchell agreed to clear the junk motor vehicles from the West Burke property and cease salvage yard operations there. That fall, the Agency confirmed in a site visit that the West Burke property was clean and no longer a salvage yard. However, upon inspection of the Lyndonville property, which Mr. Mitchell had proposed to be a new salvage yard, Agency staff found a second unpermitted salvage yard already in operation. The respondent subsequently submitted applications for an after-the-fact COAL from the municipality, and was issued a permit from DEC’s Salvage Yard Program in early 2016.

As the result of negotiations, including Mr. Mitchell’s efforts to bring both properties into compliance with applicable law, the Agency and Mr. Mitchell agreed to settle the matter with an Assurance of Discontinuance. The Assurance was incorporated into a Final Judicial Order on July 10, 2017 and requires a penalty of $9,937.50. 

For more information about DEC’s Salvage Yard Program, including a current list of permitted salvage yards, visit http://dec.vermont.gov/waste-management/salvage-yards