Office of the Vermont Attorney General

Brandon Farmers Ordered To Take Corrective Actions, Pay $24,750 For Agricultural Water Quality Violations

July 11, 2016

CONTACT: Robert F. McDougall, Assistant Attorney General, (802) 828-3186

William and Robin Hanfield, who own and operate a dairy farm in Brandon, Vermont, have been ordered to take corrective actions at the farm’s manure pit and pay $24,750 for violations of Vermont’s water pollution laws and agricultural practice regulations. “Vermonters want our rivers, streams and lakes to be clean,” said Attorney General William H. Sorrell. “We know that most farmers want the same and work hard to follow sound agricultural practices. But if a farm fails to follow Vermont’s water quality laws, it will be held accountable. The improper release of farm waste to waters of the State of Vermont will not be tolerated.”

The case was brought by the Attorney General’s Office working cooperatively with the Agency of Natural Resources’ Department of Environmental Conservation and Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets. The State alleged that the Hanfields allowed the manure pit at their farm to overtop on three separate occasions in late 2014 and early 2015. Manure-laden water from the pit was observed flowing from the pit into a nearby ditch, across a pasture, and eventually into a tributary of the Neshobe River.

The Rutland Superior Court, Civil Division, found the Hanfields liable for three violations of Vermont law – one violation for each of the observed unpermitted discharges – and three separate violations of Vermont’s agricultural regulations relating to the management of waste at the farm. Following a hearing held on June 28th, the Hanfields were ordered to certify in writing to the Agency of Agriculture by November 1st for the next three years that they have at least 180 days of capacity in the farm’s manure pit. The Court also ordered the Hanfields to hire an outside engineer to work with the Agency of Agriculture and review the manure pit’s construction, use and capacity. Additionally, the Hanfields must limit the use of the pit to on-site generated waste only and pay $24,750 in civil penalties to the State.

“Vermonters and tourists alike enjoy swimming, boating and fishing in our waters. We know the challenges these waters face, with harmful algae blooms occurring throughout the summer. That is why Vermont has taken an all-in approach to improving water quality. When bad actors violate water quality laws, Vermonters expect and deserve action,” said Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Alyssa Schuren.

Related documents:

State of Vermont v. William and Robin Hanfield., Docket No. 597-10-15 Rdcv

Complaint
Motion for Default Judgment
Judgment Order (April 27, 2016)
Order on Injunctive and Monetary Remedies (June 28, 2016)

Last modified: March 15, 2018