Bennington College fined for violations of hazardous waste management regulations

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Bennington College fined for violations of hazardous waste management regulations

Fri, 02/14/2020 - 4:26pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine The Agency of Natural Resources Department of Environmental Conservation announced today that Bennington College Corporation will pay $15,750 for mismanaging hazardous waste on its Bennington campus in violation of Vermont’s Hazardous Waste Management Regulations. 

DEC inspected the Bennington College campus in May 2019 and observed violations of Vermont’s Hazardous Waste Management Regulations related to proper signage, storage and labeling of hazardous waste materials in different locations across campus.

Additionally, DEC found that the College was neither conducting daily inspections of the waste storage areas, nor maintaining manifests and inventory records, training for certain personnel had not been done, and it did not have arrangements with local emergency response personnel.

After the inspection, DEC provided the College with instructions for complying with the hazardous waste management regulations. Between May and July 2019, the College submitted documentation to DEC verifying their compliance with the regulations. The Agency initiated an enforcement action for the violations, and as a result of negotiations, the College agreed to resolve the matter and pay a $3,937.50 penalty and contribute $11,812.50 to a Supplemental Environmental Project. 

The Vermont Superior Court, Environmental Division incorporated the settlement agreement into an Order of the Court on February 12, 2020.

Hazardous waste is a waste that is dangerous or potentially harmful to human health and the environment. This waste may consist of discarded hazardous materials such as chemical products, or the by-products of a particular process. Comprehensive state and federal regulations exist to set standards for hazardous waste management in order to protect public health and the environment.

The Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) provides assistance and oversight to generators of hazardous waste to ensure compliance with state and federal laws. When companies or organizations generate hazardous waste, they need to notify the State, and the requirements for each entity depends on the amount of waste they generate.

Small Quantity Generators of hazardous waste like Bennington College Corporation have specific requirements to ensure proper management of waste, and to protect the health and safety of their own personnel, the public, and the environment. These requirements include comprehensive signage, labeling and storage protocols, personnel training, inspections, emergency preparedness, and recordkeeping.

“It’s important for hazardous waste to be properly labeled, stored, and managed throughout its lifecycle at any facility,” says Emily Boedecker, DEC Commissioner. “These practices help prevent accidental exposure to the harmful effects of hazardous materials and protect the facility’s employees and its clients as well as the public, emergency responders, and the environment.”

For more information about DEC’s Waste Management and Prevention Division, including resources for hazardous waste generators, visit

Source: Montpelier, Vt. – Agency of Natural Resources 2.14.2020