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 14,829 enforcement actions in Fiscal Year 2016, as reported in the Annual Enforcement and Compliance Report. Below are enforcement actions brought to a resolution between July 1, 2017, and September 30, 2017, with financial penalties of $10,000 or more
Land Pollution Enforcement Actions
Lead poisoning prevention
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:
Park Terrace, Inc – Laurel, Prince George’s County
one affected property – On September 22, 2017, the Department entered into a Settlement Agreement and Consent Order to resolve alleged violations of Maryland’s lead law. The defendant agreed to a $12,000 penalty.
Hazardous waste generators must arrange for shipment of their hazardous waste to a facility permitted to accept it or, with the appropriate permits, treat it themselves. A person who ships hazardous waste off-site must use a hauler certified by the Department and the waste must be accompanied by a document that tracks it from generation to disposal (the hazardous waste manifest). A person must comply with regulations on the storage of the waste and must follow specified procedures to prevent the occurrence of circumstances that would threaten human health or the environment.
Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology Research – Rockville, Montgomery County
On July 22, 2016, the department issued a Notice of Violation requiring compliance with Maryland’s Controlled Hazardous Substance regulations and seeking $15,000 for alleged violations. The penalty has been paid.
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.
Johns Hopkins Radiation Oncology – Baltimore City
On September 14, 2017, the Department and Johns Hopkins Radiation Oncology finalized a Settlement Agreement to resolve alleged violations of Maryland’s radiation control regulations. The violations involved an incorrect administration of radiation on four separate days. Under the agreement, Johns Hopkins Radiation Oncology agreed to pay a $60,000 penalty.
Water Pollution Enforcement Actions
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.
Baltimore City Sanitary Sewer Overflows – Baltimore City
On July 17, 2017, the department issued a Penalty Settlement to the Baltimore City Department of Public Works to resolve 205 sanitary sewer overflows that occurred in the city in 2015. Baltimore City paid $89,100 in stipulated penalties to both the department and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
NRG Dickerson Generating Station – Montgomery County
On July 20, 2017, the department issued a Penalty Settlement to NRG Energy, Inc. to resolve an unauthorized discharge of oil that occurred from November 27, 2016 through December 4, 2016, from the NRG Dickerson Generating Station. The $50,000 penalty has been paid.
Anne Arundel Sanitary Sewer Overflows – Anne Arundel County
On July 17, 2017, the department issued a Penalty Settlement to the Anne Arundel County Department of Public Works to resolve 70 sanitary sewer overflows that occurred from August 2014 through December 2016.The $43,500 penalty has been paid.
Concrete General, Inc. – Montgomery County
On August 30, 2017, the department issued a Settlement Agreement and Consent Order to Concrete General Inc. to resolve alleged water pollution violations that occurred in Gaithersburg. The Consent Order includes an $11,250 penalty and requires that Concrete General Inc. cease all unauthorized discharges and apply for a new individual industrial surface water discharge permit.
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