Boatbuilder receives 'crippling' fine over hazardous waste

By Sarah E. Reynolds | Aug 19, 2014
Source: Maine Department of Environmental Protection

Rockport — In an Aug. 15 press release, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) said it had reached a consent agreement with Artisan Boatworks Inc. over improper handling of hazardous waste.

Under the agreement, Artisan will pay an $8,750 civil fine in installments. The company violated DEP rules concerning identification of hazardous wastes, DEP standards for generators of hazardous waste and DEP waste oil management rules, the press release said. After DEP got involved, Artisan submitted to the department information stating that it had taken corrective actions including making hazardous waste determinations, hiring a licensed hazardous waste transporter and shipping hazardous waste using a hazardous waste manifest to an authorized hazardous waste facility, properly marking and labeling hazardous waste containers, shipping universal waste off-site for recycling, and managing universal waste according to DEP rules, the press release said.

Commenting on the settlement Tuesday, Aug. 19, Artisan founder and President Alec Brainerd said the company, begun in 2002, builds and restores primarily wooden boats, and does not use a high volume of hazardous chemicals.

Artisan was transferring used oil from the boats it worked on and used paint thinner to a facility that burned it as a heat source, not realizing that doing so violated a number of DEP regulations, he explained.

It was a blow to learn of the violations, he said, because "we've always taken a lot of pride in our compliance."

Brainerd noted that he and his wife and family live on the boatworks site, and get their drinking water from a well there. "We've always endeavored to be ... as environmentally responsible as possible."

He acknowledged that the fine was fair. "I'll be the first to admit that [lack of awareness of the law] does not exonerate us," he said. However, he added that he wished his education in this area had not come at such a high price, calling the fine "crippling." The payment schedule Artisan worked out with DEP will allow the company to survive, he said, but it will still take several years to recover from the effects of the fine.

Comments (8)
Posted by: James Bowers | Aug 23, 2014 10:16

Perhaps the article might have explained the pollution problems that can be generated by burning paint thinner. Where's the history on this? remember the mess in South Hope? Much larger but similar issues.

Posted by: James Bowers | Aug 21, 2014 21:15

"Crippling"? Seems like pretty sensational language for a $8,750 fine. It's unfortunate and perhaps the department could have cut them some slack, and maybe they did. They are letting them pay in installments.Where's the governor on this one?

Posted by: Harley Roger Colwell | Aug 20, 2014 22:19

Awry.... danggitt, I hate when I end a rant with a typo.


Posted by: Harley Roger Colwell | Aug 20, 2014 22:16

Susan, you obviously just draw a paycheck from someone else who has to worry about the details. So: really, be quiet. As for DEP: what a bounty-hunter aptitude. Here's the definition of Bureaucracy: Too much power allocated in too vague a fashion. For shame. This moronic, example-making persecution over what "might" have gone wrong is absolutely diabolical, particularly in light of the fact that Bureaucrats have nothing but time on their hunds, with which to make more rules and regulations and related tedium; the depths of which no mere mortal may successfully plumb without prohibitively expensive expert and legal services. And the morons that run this state wonder why we have the "brain drain?" No kidding.... anyone with two neurons firing get's the heck outta here if they have the means to set up shop somewhere else: doctors, manufacturors, proffessionals of all sorts. This is just yet another case of "Cattail fever" gone terribly arwy.


Posted by: Sandy Nault | Aug 20, 2014 08:29

I can't help but wonder how the amount of the fine is decided. It seems too severe.

Posted by: Judy Olson | Aug 20, 2014 05:10

Agreeing w/Maggie...this is the wrong company to make an example of..heavy fine where no overt harm was done to the environment. Likely a warning would have sufficed.

Posted by: Susan Sinclair | Aug 19, 2014 15:22

Oh wah. Every business should live by the same standards. No special treatment or looking the other way. Where would it end?

Posted by: glen r thompson | Aug 19, 2014 13:52

Welcome to Maine DEP.  Our motto: "Destroy as many businesses as possible and put as many workers in the unemployment line and on welfare as possible".

If you wish to comment, please login.