Maine DEP fines Freeport junkyard almost $18K for hazardous waste violations

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FREEPORT — A Route 1 junkyard was slapped with a nearly $18,000 fine by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection for violations resulting from the improper storage and containment of hazardous waste.

Freeport Auto Parts, owned and operated by John Ingerson, was fined $17,760 Oct. 30 after the department found the business had been spilling oil on the ground and not maintaining proper safeguards for hazardous waste material stored at 33 Allen Range Road.

According to the DEP report, violations found by investigators included:

  • Failing to label two, 275-gallon drums of oil and storing them on bare ground instead of an impermeable surface.

  • Not conducting daily inspections of hazardous material stored on the property.

  • Accumulating 375 gallons of hazardous waste for more than 90 days without a license.

  • Showing no record in the last 10 years of having any hazardous materials stored on site.

  • Failing to maintain adequate containment of hazardous materials.

  • And offering hazardous waste gasoline to an unlicensed transporter, who allegedly mixed the gas with waste oil and burned it in a waste-oil furnace or used it for washing parts.

The violations were recorded by DEP in June. A remediation process began in July, with the junkyard removing 230 tons of petroleum-contaminated soil from the property, according to the report.

No storm drains or wells were endangered, according to the report.

Ingerson, who has been in business 43 years, contends the DEP overreacted, but said he is now complying with the state’s rules and regulations.

“It was a very minor infraction and they over-fined me,” he said Tuesday. “I’ve got no complaints from the neighbors.”

In 2005, the junkyard was fined for actions related to spilled oil and contaminated ground water, which could have threatened three wells, according to the DEP spill report.

Will Graff can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or Follow him on Twitter: @W_C_Graff.