Rutland Solid Waste District fined $37,000 for mishandling hazardous materials

The materials recovery facility run by the Rutland County Solid Waste District. The district has been fined $37,000 for violations in the handling and transportation of hazardous waste.

The Rutland County Solid Waste District has been fined $37,000 for violating the state’s rules for managing hazardous and solid waste. 

The district, which provides waste disposal and transport services to households and businesses in Rutland County, was cited for 13 violations at its Gleason Road transfer station in Rutland following an inspection by the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation in June 2019. 

Violations included multiple instances of unmarked or improperly labeled substances, improper storage of lead acid batteries, and one case of a transporter handling hazardous waste without holding the necessary permit. 

“Residents and customers bring waste to these facilities with the understanding it will be managed appropriately and in compliance with applicable regulations,” said Peter Walke, commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation. “It’s important that these facilities understand and follow the rules to ensure that solid and hazardous waste are properly managed.”

In September 2019, the district reported to the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources the steps it had taken to address the violations, bringing the district back into compliance. A notice from the state also notes the Rutland County Solid Waste District agreed to the facts behind the violations “solely for purposes of resolving [the] case.”

“I can say that I can’t agree on all the situations as [the agency] described,” said District Manager Mark Shea, who’s unsure why the fine is being assessed months after the violations were revealed and addressed. 

Shea has been on the job since last September. The violations were revealed and addressed during the tenure of his predecessor, Jim O’Gorman, who stepped down in the fall of 2019 and is now retired. 

The fine could also have a considerable financial impact on the Rutland County Solid Waste District. Shea said $37,000 is equal to about 20% of the household hazardous waste division’s annual budget.

Shea says other facilities in Rutland County have since been rigorously inspected, and he’s actively working with towns to eliminate these sorts of violations in a time of increased scrutiny from the state and the public. 

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“Since I’ve been here, I’ve been taking a vigorous and active stance to assist the towns, doing outreach to them, and guide them on how to comply with this,” Shea said. “I think the chances of them getting a heavy fine are dramatically reduced, thanks to the effort to remedy these things as soon as possible.” 

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