The Maryland Department of the Environment enforces State and federal environmental laws to protect public health and our land, air, water and wetlands resources.
“Enforcement is an important part of what we do to protect public health and keep our communities clean, and we do this with a balanced and common-sense approach,” said Secretary of the Environment Ben Grumbles. “The Department of the Environment works in collaboration with facilities to ensure they are in compliance with all requirements, but we will go after polluters and impose financial penalties when needed. We are committed to changing Maryland for the better – protecting and restoring our environment while providing businesses with clear expectations and a level playing field among the regulated entities.”
The majority of the Department’s enforcement and compliance activities involve working with permit holders to correct any minor deficiencies with no formal enforcement action taken or financial penalties assessed. This assistance may be the most efficient method to achieve compliance. If an inspection reveals a significant violation, or if minor violations continue to recur and become a significant problem, then enhanced actions are warranted. Such action may take the form of penalties, corrective orders, the filing of injunctions and, in some cases, criminal sanctions.
The Department took 7,676 enforcement actions in Fiscal Year 2015, as reported in the Annual Enforcement and Compliance Report. Below are enforcement actions brought to a resolution between July 1, 2015, and December 31, 2015, with financial penalties of $10,000 or more.
The Department of the Environment’s Lead Poisoning Prevention Program serves as the coordinating agency for statewide efforts to eliminate childhood lead poisoning. Under the 1994 "Reduction of Lead Risk in Housing Act,” the Department assures compliance with mandatory requirements for lead risk reduction in rental units built before 1978, maintains a statewide listing of registered and inspected units and provides blood lead surveillance through a registry of test results of all children tested in Maryland. Alleged violations typically involve a failure to register properties or meet lead risk-reduction standards. The following actions were for properties alleged to be out of compliance with lead risk-reduction standards:
Marlborough Revitalization 2013, LP – Baltimore City: one affected property – On December 30, 2015, the Department entered into a Settlement Agreement and Consent Order to resolve alleged violations of Maryland’s lead law. The defendant agreed to a penalty of $15,000.
Northeastern Maryland Development Company, LLC and Patrick Doordan – North East, Cecil County: 11 affected properties – On December 7, 2015, the Department entered into a Settlement Agreement and Consent Order to resolve alleged violations of Maryland’s lead law. The defendants agreed to a penalty of $10,000.
Chukuemeka Okoro – Baltimore City: 10 affected properties – On October 7, 2015, the Department entered into a Settlement Agreement and Consent Order to resolve violations of Maryland’s lead law. The defendant agreed to a penalty of $25,000.
Shirley A. Levy, Trustee – Laurel, Prince George’s County: Five affected properties - On July 13, 2015, the Department entered into a Settlement Agreement and Consent Order to resolve alleged violations of Maryland’s lead law. The defendant agreed to a penalty of $10,000.
The Oil Control Program has highly trained staff to help companies and individuals ensure that their Underground Storage Tanks (USTs) are in compliance with State and federal regulations. All regulated USTs within Maryland are required to be registered through the Underground Storage Tank Notification Program. All USTs storing motor fuels (e.g., gasoline, diesel) must meet specific technical standards (corrosion protection, spill/overfill prevention, leak detection and financial responsibility) or be removed from the ground.
Brian L. Frye and A. I. Petroleum Testing & Inspection, LLC – Mount Airy, Carroll and Frederick counties: On December 23, 2015, the Department entered into a Settlement Agreement and Consent Order to resolve alleged violations of Maryland’s UST law. The defendants agreed to a penalty of $12,000.
The Mining Program regulates all surface coal and non-coal mining in the State, and the surface effects from deep mining of coal. The purpose of mining permits is to minimize the effects of sediment and other pollution from surface mining. In addition to environmental controls, the permit provides for proper land reclamation and ensures public safety.
Aquasco Materials, LLC – Prince George’s County: On December 23, 2015, the Department issued a Notice of Violation requiring compliance with Maryland’s Surface Mine Permit and seeking $10,000 for alleged violations.
Shore Sand and Gravel, LLC – Caroline County: On October 27, 2015, the Department issued a Notice of Violation requiring compliance with Maryland’s Surface Mine Permit and seeking $25,000 for alleged violations. The penalty has been paid in full.
The Department of the Environment’s Air and Radiation Management Administration ensures that all citizens and businesses are meeting the requirements of the federal Clean Air Act as well as Maryland’s air pollution control laws. The Administration oversees air pollution monitoring, planning and control programs to improve and maintain air quality and a radiation control program to protect the public from unnecessary exposure to radiation from medical equipment and other devices, in conformance with federal and state law.
BASF – statewide: On Dec. 28, 2015, the Department and BASF finalized a Settlement Agreement to resolve alleged air pollution violations for selling and distributing in Maryland automotive coating products that exceeded Maryland requirements for Volatile Organic Compounds content. BASF self-reported the alleged violations under MDE’s Environmental Audit Guidance and submitted and implemented a plan to ensure no future violations. Under the terms of the Settlement Agreement, BASF agreed to pay a $15,000 penalty.
Northeast Maryland Waste Disposal Authority (Oaks Landfill) – Montgomery County: On Oct. 1, 2015, the Department and the Northeast Maryland Waste Disposal Authority finalized a settlement agreement to resolve alleged air pollution violations at the Oaks Landfill Gas-to-Energy Facility in Montgomery County. The facility, which captures landfill gas to power engines that produce electricity, exceeded nitrogen oxide emission limits in its permit. It was determined that the alleged violations were caused by poor maintenance. The facility has improved its maintenance practices and the facility is now in compliance with permit requirements. Under the agreement, the Northeast Maryland Waste Disposal Authority paid a $20,000 penalty.
Potts & Callahan – Baltimore City: On Aug. 12, 2015, the Department and Potts & Callahan finalized a settlement agreement to resolve alleged air pollution violations at a rock and aggregate crushing operation in Baltimore City. The alleged violations involved failure to obtain required air quality permits for a new crusher that was installed. Under the agreement, the company was allowed to continue to operate the crusher if it expeditiously pursued the required permits. Under the agreement, the company paid a $12,000 penalty.
The following action is in response to alleged violations of Maryland regulations for the control of ionizing radiation from use of radiation (x-ray) machines.
University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health – Harford County: On Aug 19, 2015, the Department and University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health finalized a Settlement Agreement to resolve alleged violations of Maryland’s radiation control regulations. The alleged violations involved four incorrect administrations of radiation at two Harford County medical facilities. Under the agreement, University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health paid a $70,000 penalty.
State law prohibits the discharge of any pollutant into waters of the State, unless such discharge is in compliance with the terms, conditions, and requirements of a discharge permit. A person must hold a discharge permit issued by MDE before the person may construct, install, modify, extend, alter or operate any facility or disposal system or any other outlet or establishment if its operation could cause or increase the discharge of pollutants into waters of the State.
State law requires that property owners notify the Department of the Environment before conducting any work in tidal and nontidal wetlands, their buffers, and waterways of the State. The Department assesses the impact of any work on tidal and nontidal wetlands and, if appropriate, will issue a permit authorizing the work. The regulations governing wetlands were developed to protect the State’s natural resources that depend on those wetlands and minimize impacts while allowing property owners reasonable use of their property.
State law requires that, prior to performing construction activity, a person obtain and implement a Soil Conservation District-approved erosion and sediment control plan for any proposed land clearing or earth disturbance greater than 5,000 square feet that must be maintained for the life of the project. It is unlawful for any person to introduce soil or sediment into waters of the State or to place soil or sediment in a condition or location where it is likely to be washed into waters of the State.
State law requires that any activity involving earth disturbance over one acre requires a General Permit for Stormwater Discharges Associated with Construction Activity. This permit requires the implementation of an approved erosion and sediment control plan prior to performing earth grading operations as well as self-monitoring inspections of the erosion and sediment controls.
State law requires any project that impacts waterways, including the 100 year floodplain, shall be authorized by a State Waterway Construction Permit. Construction must proceed in accordance with the permit conditions and the Maryland Department of the Environment-approved plan. The laws and regulations governing construction projects were developed to protect the State’s natural resources while allowing property owners reasonable use of their property.
Roy A. Williams – St. Mary’s County: On Dec. 11, 2015 MDE issued a Settlement Agreement and Penalty of $12,000 to Roy A. Williams to resolve alleged sediment control and sediment pollution violations that occurred during construction activities in Charlotte Hall between Jan. 26, 2010, and April 15, 2010. The alleged violations have been corrected.
Cecil County Department of Public Works – Cecil County: On Nov. 10, 2015, the Cecil County Department of Public Works paid $10,000 to the Clean Water Fund to settle alleged sediment control violations that occurred at the Principio Sanitary Sewer Sub-District North Interceptor Project on Principio Parkway East in North East. The alleged violations have been corrected.
Allan Myers-MD, Inc. -- Baltimore County, Maryland: On Oct. 14, 2015, Allan Myers-MD, Inc., paid $10,250 to the Department to resolve alleged sediment control and sediment pollution violations during dewatering operations at the Maryland SHA I-695 Bridge over Milford Mill Road construction project.
HHHunt -- St. Mary’s County: On July 28, 2015, HHHunt paid $16,000 to the Department to resolve alleged sediment control and sediment pollution violations that occurred during construction at the Abberly Crest Apartments Phase II project.
Carroll County Department of Public Works -- Carroll County: On July 24, 2015, the Carroll County Department of Public Works paid $17,120 to the Maryland Department of the Environment to resolve six sanitary sewer overflows from the county’s sanitary sewer collection system and one unauthorized discharge to waters of the State from the Hampstead Waste Water Treatment Plant. The events occurred between December 2010 and June 2014.
Town of Mount Airy Department of Public Works – Carroll County: On July 24, 2015, the Town of Mount Airy Department of Public Works paid $12,000 to the Department to resolve two sanitary sewer overflows from the Town’s sanitary sewer collection that occurred between April 2009 and June 2014.
S.D. Property Development, LLC, Vera’s White Sands Beach Club, LLC and Stephen Stanley – Calvert County: On July 2, 2015, the Department executed a Consent Decree, entered into the Circuit Court for Calvert County, to resolve alleged violations involving Vera’s White Sands Beach Club’s on-site sewage disposal system, the unpermitted operation of a public bathing beach, the operation of a swimming pool without a discharge permit, the construction or expansion of several unauthorized structures in tidal wetlands, destruction of tidal marsh vegetation and filling and grading on the property without a Tidal Wetlands License. The Consent Decree requirements include corrective action to obtain the necessary permits and authorizations, repair or replacement of the sewage disposal system and restoration or mitigation of the tidal wetlands areas disturbed. The Consent Decree requires payment of a $50,000 penalty.
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