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 Oct. 1, 2016, and Dec. 31, 2016, with financial penalties of $10,000 or more.
Land Pollution Enforcement Actions
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 Material, LLC – Bethesda, Montgomery County: On October 11, 2016, the Department issued a Notice of Violation requiring compliance with Maryland’s Surface Mine Permit regulations and seeking $10,000 for alleged violations. The penalty has been paid in full.
Air Pollution and Radiation Enforcement Actions
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 and occupational workers from unnecessary exposure to radiation from medical equipment and other devices, in conformance with federal and state law.
- Lifoam Industries – Harford County: On Oct. 14, the Department and Lifoam Industries finalized an agreement to settle alleged air pollution violations, including alleged violations involving emissions of volatile organic compounds, at the company’s styrofoam production plant in Harford County. The settlement agreement includes a $55,000 penalty. It also includes a requirement for the company to perform a $15,000 environmental project – in this case an electric vehicle charging station. Lifoam returned to compliance.
- PolyOne LLC – Salisbury, Wicomico County: On Dec. 28, the Department and and PolyOne finalized a settlement agreement to address alleged air pollution violations, including alleged violations involving failure to comply with monitoring and recording requirements in its permit, at the company’s plant in Salisbury. The settlement includes a $39,000 penalty. PolyOne returned to compliance.
- GeoConcepts Engineering: On October 31, the Department and GeoConcepts finalized a settlement agreement to resolve alleged violations of radioactive material requirements. GeoConcepts was found to have used a nuclear density gauge without prior notice on numerous occasions. The settlement agreement includes a $15,000 penalty. GeoConcepts returned to compliance.
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