CONTACT: William H. Sorrell, Attorney General, (802) 828-3171
Leach Farms, Inc., a dairy farm in Enosburg Falls, Vermont, has admitted to violations of Vermont’s water pollution law and agricultural practice regulations and will pay forty thousand dollars ($40,000.00) in civil penalties for the water quality violations. “Keeping Vermont’s waterways clean is one of our State’s top environmental priorities,” said Attorney General William H. Sorrell. “Improving the quality of the water in Lake Champlain is of particular importance. Farms need to understand their role in keeping the lake clean.”
This matter was investigated by the Compliance and Enforcement Division at the Department of Environmental Conservation. The matter was prosecuted by the Attorney General’s Office working cooperatively with the Agency of Natural Resources and Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets.
The settlement concerns three discharges by Leach Farms to the Bogue Brook in Enosburg Falls on November 19, 2013. On that date, three manure spreading vehicles owned by Leach Farms took water from Bogue Brook, drove downstream and discharged manure-laden water from their tanks back into the Bogue Brook. Each of the three spreaders made two such “rinsing” discharges on November 19, 2013. The Bogue Brook is a branch of the Missisquoi River that flows into Lake Champlain. A video of the discharges was filed in Vermont Superior Court with the settlement. Leach Farms admitted to the conduct as a part of the settlement.
“The spraying of manure laden rinsate directly into state waters was an egregious and unacceptable violation of state law,” said Department of Environmental Commissioner David Mears. “This type of conduct degrades the water quality in Vermont’s streams, rivers, ponds and lakes hurting all Vermonters. If we are to improve our water quality these types of violations must be stopped. We want the message to be crystal clear that the state will pursue significant penalties against those who continue to violate the law in this manner” Mears added.
“These actions and any others like them are totally unacceptable. They present a bad image for the many other farmers who are good stewards of our land and water resources,” said Agency of Agriculture Secretary Chuck Ross. “The Agency of Agriculture will not hesitate to take enforcement actions and impose significant penalties in circumstances like this,” he added.
The Attorney General noted that Leach Farms cooperated with the State on the settlement and swiftly accepted responsibility for its conduct.
The settlement was approved by the Franklin Superior Court.
Related documents: State of Vermont v. Leach Farms, Inc., Docket No. 388-10-14 Frcv
An excerpt of the discharge video, referenced in paragraphs 19, 20 and 21 of the Pleadings by Agreement is available for viewing at the following link:
Last modified: March 15, 2018