News Releases

June 30, 2015

Waitsfield Organic Dairy Farmer Admits to Burning Agricultural Plastic

The Department of Environmental Conservation's Compliance and Enforcement Division today announced that it has formally settled an illegal open burning violation with Waitsfield farmer Douglas H. Turner. Mr. Turner operates an organic dairy farm under the business name of "Simplicity Farm." The settlement includes the payment of a $5,000 penalty.

On Saturday, May 31, 2014, Agency on Natural Resources personnel received an anonymous complaint that illegal burning was occurring at a Waitsfield property. Environmental Enforcement Officer (EEO) Daniel Mason responded to the complaint and quickly identified the strong odor of burning plastic. EEO Mason located the clandestine burn site where a large smoldering pile of material was observed in a pasture where cows were grazing. The burn pile consisted of agricultural plastic and other debris, including a mattress, rugs, and painted wood. Burning agricultural plastic can release toxic and potentially cancer-causing chemicals -- such as dioxins and furans -- into the air, where they can be inhaled by humans and animals and deposited in soil and surface water. EEO Mason located Mr. Turner near the burn site, who admitted to lighting the fire earlier that day, and indicated he had burned agricultural plastic over the previous two years at the site. EEO Mason contacted the local fire department to respond to the noxious fire. It took equipment from several area departments to successfully extinguish the fire.

Mr. Turner entered into an Assurance of Discontinuance whereby he admitted the open burning violation and agreed to pay a $5,000 penalty and submit a procedure for properly managing the farm's agricultural plastic going forward. He has also removed and properly disposed of all the remaining material from the extinguished burn pile.

Contact: Attorney John Zaikowski, 802-522-5438,

Source: Department of Environmental Conservation
Last Updated at: June 30, 2015 10:20:58