March 7, 2019
Montpelier, VT – The Agency of Natural Resources Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced today that James Clark, Sr. was fined $10,750 for violating Vermont waste management and air pollution regulations when he burned a derelict residential structure and failed to promptly remove its remains from the property in Wolcott. In April 2016, after gaining permission from the Town of Wolcott Fire Warden to burn natural brush on his property, Mr. Clark ignited a brush pile that was placed on a wooden deck of the derelict residential structure. The fire quickly spread to the structure, which contained asbestos, plastics, shingles, and carpeting. The remnants of the fire remained on the property until October 2017.
Open burning of treated or manufactured wood products, plastics, and other trash releases harmful toxins into the air, which are then inhaled or settle into surface water, crops, and the environment. Vermont’s Air Pollution Control Regulations prohibit open burning of treated and synthetic materials to protect air quality and public health. Vermont’s Solid Waste Rules similarly require timely clean-up of waste to prevent toxins from leaching into the soil and groundwater or from being transported to neighboring properties by wind and precipitation. Toxins like asbestos are known to lead to serious public health consequences if inhaled.
“Burning trash, waste and structures is dangerous for property owners and their neighbors. Open burning can cause health problems and damages the environment,” says DEC Commissioner Emily Boedecker. “For anyone wondering how to get rid of trash, waste, structures, or other objects on their property, DEC has free resources and support to help residents determine what to do with these things.”
After Mr. Clark properly disposed of the materials at a certified waste management facility, Mr. Clark and DEC agreed to a $10,750 fine for the violations. The agreement was approved by the Vermont Superior Court, Environmental Division in an order dated March 4, 2019.
For more information about properly managing a variety of wastes, visit https://dec.vermont.gov/waste-management/solid/materials-mgmt. For more information about Vermont’s Air Quality, visit https://dec.vermont.gov/air-quality.