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MADISON - The State has won a judgment against a Washburn County man for violations of state environmental protection laws at an auto salvage yard he operated near Spooner.


Judge Eugene Harrington found that Michael Dennis had violated state laws requiring that responsible parties investigate and remediate hazardous substance discharges and properly manage solid wastes. The Court also found that Dennis had unlawfully filled wetlands on the Town of Evergreen property.


"Lawful orders to clean up hazardous substance discharges into the environment are important for public safety and the environment. The state's permitting process is designed to protect Wisconsin's environment while enabling individuals to conduct lawful enterprises," said Van Hollen. "For this process to work individuals who are required to obtain permits must obtain them in a timely manner and follow them."


Under the terms of the Court's order, entered on July 29, 2008, Dennis must, by certain specified deadlines:


  • conduct no further auto salvaging activities at the site;
  • conduct no further waste burning activities on the site;
  • implement site investigation and remediation plans to address the hazardous substance discharges at the site
  • remove and properly recycle or dispose of the waste tires and other solid wastes on the site, and
  • remove the fill material and solid wastes from all wetland areas on the site.


Dennis was also ordered to pay $38,000 in penalties, statutory surcharges, costs and fees.


"We will continue to work with the DNR to make sure that Wisconsin's environmental laws are followed," said Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen.


Assistant Attorney General Shari Eggleson prosecuted the case, which was referred to the Department of Justice by the Department of Natural Resources.