Maryland Department of the Environment
MDE Issues 7 Water Management Enforcement Actions
BALTIMORE, MD (May 21, 2008) – The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) Water Management Administration Compliance Program issued the following enforcement actions between March 11, 2008 and April 22, 2008. These actions cover the counties of Allegheny, Calvert, Garrett, and Washington Counties.
“Enforcing environmental laws is an important component of Maryland’s efforts to protect human health and the environment,” said MDE Secretary Shari T. Wilson. “We are indebted to our 132 inspectors who are responsible for enforcing Maryland’s environmental laws.”
“The laws protecting Maryland’s surface and groundwaters are critical to meeting Maryland’s goals under the Chesapeake Bay Agreement,” said Governor Martin O’Malley. “I urge all citizens to follow Maryland’s laws to protect the Bay.”
Maryland Environment Law Title 4 requires that a Soil Conservation District approved sediment control plan for any proposed land clearing, soil movement, and construction shall be obtained and implemented prior to construction and maintained for the life of the project. It further provides that 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. Sediment is considered a pollutant under this statute. Title 9 of the Environment 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. Earth disturbances that exceed 1 acre are required to obtain a NPDES Construction Storm water Permit from MDE. The NPDES Permit requires that an approved erosion and sediment control plan be obtained and implemented, and that self-monitoring inspections occur and that a log of such inspections be maintained. 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.
Terry Hale, Garrett County - On March 25, 2008, the Maryland Department of the Environment executed a Settlement Agreement whereby Terry Hale agreed to pay MDE $5,000 for sediment control, sediment pollution and discharge permit violations for clearing and grading activity without first obtaining an approved erosion and sediment control plan, State Discharge Permit and failing to install erosion and sediment controls. The unauthorized activity involved the clearing and grading of nearly 5 acres off Steiding Church Road, near Deep Creek Lake. The violations were first observed in March, 2006. The area has been stabilized with vegetation.
Curlee Miller, C. M. Forest Products, Grosh Timber Harvest, Allegany County - On April 8, 2008, the Maryland Department of the Environment issued a Notice of Violation for sediment control and pollution violations at the Grosh Forest Harvest located in Cumberland. Timber was harvested within the Forest Harvest buffer in excess of that established by the approved sediment control plan. In addition, rutting of the riverbank of the North Branch Potomac River occurred while removing the trees within the buffer without installation of adequate sediment controls. These violations were initially observed by MDE in January, 2008. Following the MDE inspection, representatives of C.M. Forest Products seeded and mulched disturbed areas along the stream banks and within the buffer. C.M. Forest Products has agreed to settle the violations by paying MDE $3,000.00.
Maryland Environment Law Title 15 requires that before any person conducts open-pit mining, he shall obtain a permit from MDE’s Bureau of Mines. All mining permits require that the mine operator comply with all provisions of the law, rules and regulations adopted pursuant thereto, and all general and specific conditions of the permit. These requirements provide for the protection and conservation of the natural resources of the State and the improvement of areas of land and communities affected in the mining of bituminous coal by the open-pit, strip mining or auger mining method.
Vindex Energy, Surface Coal Mine Permits, Allegany and Garrett Counties - The Maryland Department of the Environment has issued Notices of Violations on each of the referenced mine permit sites for failing to conduct Total Suspended Solids (TSS) monitoring as required by the NPDES Permit and Surface Coal Mining Permit. On each Permit site, Vindex failed to collect and have analyzed TSS in the previous quarters. Administrative penalty actions have been initiated.
Vindex Energy, Surface Coal Mine Permit, Allegany County - On March 27, 2008, the Maryland Department of the Environment issued a Notice of Violation and Order for failing to maintain a perimeter ditch that resulted in failure of the ditch and off site deposition of sediments. The Order requires repair of the ditch, cleanup of off site deposition and stabilization of the affected areas.
Allegany Coal and Land Company, Allegany County - On March 28, 2008, the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) issued a Notice of Violation and Order to the landowner, Allegany Coal and Land Company for removing stockpiled topsoil and re-disturbing reclaimed areas while removing topsoil from the forfeited surface coal mine, SM-84-247 without prior approval from MDE’s Bureau of Mines (BOM). Reclamation of the site occurred last year through the efforts of BOM and the bonding company. The Order requires that Allegany Coal and Land Company cease any further removal of topsoil or other soil materials from the mine permit area and that disturbed areas be stabilized with seed and mulch.
Maryland law (Title 5) requires that MDE be notified of any work conducted in nontidal wetlands, their buffers, and waterways of the State before starting any work. MDE will issue a permit authorizing the work to be conducted as appropriate. The regulations governing nontidal wetlands were developed to protect the State’s natural resources that depend on those wetlands while allowing property owners reasonable use of their property. The requirement that someone performing work in nontidal wetlands apply to MDE for a permit before starting construction ensures that an assessment of the impact to the nontidal wetlands and the associated resources is made before the work is performed and that any impacts are minimized.
Mark Harnes Designer Homes, Washington County - On March 11, 2008, the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) issued a Site Complaint to Mark Harnes Designer Homes for undertaking grading within the 100-year floodplain of Saint James Run without first obtaining MDE Waterway Construction Authorization. Mr. Harnes graded leveling areas within the floodplain for truck and equipment storage. Disturbed areas were stabilized with crusher run.
In addition, Mr. Harnes has begun constructing a chain link fence around the site within the floodplain. He has been advised to cease fence construction and to obtain MDE waterway authorization. The Washington County Permits and Inspection office has issued a stop work order for the site.
Maryland law (Title 4) any property owner obtains an approved erosion and sediment control plan prior to performing an earth grading operation. Obtaining and implementing this approval the construction may perform activity in a manner that minimizes impacts to the aquatic resources that may result by sediment deposition. This approval is obtained through the local soil conservation district of the county in which the work is to be performed. The regulations governing construction projects were developed to protect the State’s natural resources while allowing property owners reasonable use of their property. The requirement that an individual obtain erosion and sediment control approval before starting construction ensures that an assessment of the impact of the work is made before the work is performed and that any impacts are minimized.
Tasos Zervas, Calvert County - On April 22, 2008 a Consent Order was executed by MDE for violation of Title 5 and Title 4 for the filling of nontidal wetlands and waterways that created sediment pollution at the Tasos Zervas property located in Calvert County. The Consent Order requires Mr. Zervas to restore the nontidal wetlands and waterways to their original condition. In addition, Mr. Zervas is to pay a penalty of $10,000 to the Nontidal Wetlands Fund and $7,560 to the Sediment Fund within 30 days.