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 July 1, 2018, and December 31, 2018, with financial penalties of $10,000 or more
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.
Intrexon Corporation – Germantown, Montgomery County
On June 11, 2018, the department issued a Notice of Violation requiring compliance with Maryland’s controlled hazardous substance regulations and seeking $11,000 for alleged violations. The Notice of Violation was resolved and paid in full on July 12, 2018.
Arcal Chemicals, Inc. – Capitol Heights, Prince George’s County
On October 24, 2018, the department issued a Notice of Violation requiring compliance with Maryland’s controlled hazardous substance regulations and seeking $20,000 for alleged violations. The Notice of Violation was resolved and paid in full.
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.
Rockhill Sand & Gravel – Silver Spring, Prince George’s County
On June 11, 2018, and October 18, 2018, the Department issued three Notice of Violations requiring compliance with Maryland's mining law and seeking two separate $10,000 penalties and a $15,000 penalty for alleged violations. All notices were resolved and paid in full.
Strottmatter Land LLC – Brandywine, Prince George’s County
On October 18, 2018, the Department issued a Notice of violation requiring compliance with Maryland’s Mining Laws 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.
Rubble Bee Recycling – Calvert County
On July 20, 2018, the department and Rubble Bee Recycling finalized a settlement agreement to address alleged air pollution violations at its plant. Rubble Bee failed to get air quality permits for its crushing and screening operation, thereby avoiding a public hearing. They operated without the permits for many years. They also failed to submit annual emission certifications for their plant. The settlement agreement included a $10,500 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, 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 property owners notify MDE before conducting any work in tidal and nontidal wetlands, their buffers, and waterways of the State. MDE 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 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.
Calvert Gateway Wastewater Treatment Plant – Calvert County
On September 19, 2018, the department issued a settlement agreement and consent order to Dunkirk Gateway Business Park Association, Inc., to resolve alleged environmental violations at the Calvert Gateway Wastewater Treatment Plant in Dunkirk. The settlement agreement and consent order includes a $25,000 penalty of and an injunctive order to upgrade the wastewater treatment plant and drain fields.
Great Bay Solar I, LLC – Somerset County
On November 11, 2018, the department issued a settlement agreement to Great Bay Solar I , LLC, to resolve alleged environmental violations at four solar photovoltaic power plant construction sites in Princess Anne from April 2017 through December 2017. The settlement agreement includes a $400,000 penalty.
Mystic Harbor Wastewater Treatment Plant – Worcester County
On November 5, 2018, the department issued penalties of $12,000 to the Worcester County Department of Public Works to resolve 40 alleged effluent violations at the Mystic Harbor Wastewater Treatment Plant and Mystic Harbor Water Treatment Plant from December 2013 through August 2018.
Cox Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant – Anne Arundel County
On October 2, 2018, the department issued penalties of $40,000 to the Anne Arundel County Department of Public Works to resolve alleged concentration-based annual maximum loading rate violations of total nitrogen and total phosphorus for 2017.
Glenelg Country School – Howard County
On August 20, 2018, the department issued penalties of $14,000 to Glenelg Country School to resolve alleged violations of interim performance standards.
Baltimore City Department of Public Works – Baltimore City
On October 2, 2018, the City of Baltimore paid $99,500 in penalties to the department to resolve alleged violations in 2015 and 2017 for annual and seasonal wastewater loading rates for total phosphorus and total nitrogen and limitations for the monthly average for E.coli.
Baltimore County Department of Public Works – Baltimore County
On October 24, 2018, Baltimore County paid $35,187.50 in penalties to the department to resolve 30 sanitary sewer overflows in 2016.
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