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 8,249 enforcement actions in Fiscal Year 2017, as reported in the Annual Enforcement and Compliance Report. Below are enforcement actions brought to a resolution between April 1, 2018, and June 30, 2018, 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:
J & J Industries, Inc., Justin Polun and Nelson Polun – Baltimore City
Five affected properties –On April 25, 2018, the department entered into a Settlement Agreement and Consent Order to resolve alleged violations of Maryland’s lead law. The defendants agreed to a $16,875 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.
Sapphire Scientific, Inc. – Baltimore City
On June 11, 2018, the department issued a Notice of Violation requiring compliance with Maryland’s controlled hazardous substance regulations and seeking $10,000 for alleged violations. The Notice of Violation was resolved and paid in full.
The Department of the Environment’s Air and Radiation 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.
C.P. Crane coal-fired power plant – Baltimore County
On May 23, 2018, the department and the C.P. Crane coal-fired power plant finalized a settlement agreement to resolve alleged air pollution violations at the plant. The alleged violations included failing to conduct stack testing as required and exceeding emissions limits for particulate matter, hydrogen chloride and carbon monoxide. The settlement agreement included a requirement that Crane stop operating its two coal-fired units by June 15, 2018, as well as a $105,000 penalty assessment.
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 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 MDE 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.
City of Salisbury – Wicomico County
On May 23, 2018, the department assessed $70,300 in stipulated penalties to resolve 19 alleged effluent violations, including the annual limit for total nitrogen, and eight sanitary sewer overflows that occurred in 2017 at the City of Salisbury wastewater treatment plant and in the City of Salisbury. The penalties were assessed in accordance with an amended consent judgment.
Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission – Montgomery and Prince George’s counties
On April 5, 2018, the Department assessed $43,562.50 in stipulated penalties against the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission to resolve 102 sanitary sewer discharges from the WSSC collection system that occurred from July 1, 2016, through June 30, 2017. The penalties were assessed in accordance with a civil consent decree. The Environmental Protection Agency will issue a separate demand for an additional $43,562.50 to resolve the same sanitary sewer discharges.
World Recycling Company – Baltimore City and Prince George’s County
On May 14, 2018, the department issued a settlement agreement and consent order to the World Recycling Company, Small World Real Estate, LLC, Pride Rock, LLC, and Jeffrey Miller to resolve alleged solid waste and water pollution violations that occurred in Cheverly in Baltimore starting in December 2014. The Settlement Agreement requires that the defendants remove solid waste from the sites, develop solid waste and litter control plans for the sites and develop stormwater remediation plans for the sites. The settlement agreement includes a $45,000 penalty.
Four Seasons at Kent Island – Queen Anne’s County
On May 16, 2018, K Hovanian entered into a settlement agreement with the department and paid a $30,000 penalty to settle alleged violations involving sediment control, sediment pollution and their permit for stormwater associated with a construction activity.
WLR Automotive Group, Inc. – Calvert County
On May 31, 2018, WLR Automotive paid $18,285 to the department to settle alleged violations regarding wastewater discharge monitoring and reporting activities under a state discharge permit at the Huntingtown Auto Spa.
Milani Construction LLC – Frederick County
On March 27, 2018, Milani Construction LLC paid $17,000 to the department to settle alleged sediment control, sediment pollution and construction discharge permit violations that occurred at the City of Frederick’s Monacacy Boulevard Phase 2 Construction Project for the period July through September 2017. The alleged violations were corrected.
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