Department of the Environment Significant Enforcement Actions (July 2019 – September 2019)


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 8,590 enforcement actions in Fiscal Year 2018, as reported in the Annual Enforcement and Compliance Report. Below are recent enforcement actions brought to a resolution 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:

  • Woodland Springs, L.P. – District Heights, Prince George’s County

    506 affected properties. On August 21, 2019, the department entered into a Settlement Agreement and Consent Order to resolve alleged violations of Maryland’s lead law. The defendant agreed to a $15,000 penalty.

Hazardous Waste

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.

  • Plymouth Tube, Inc. – Salisbury, Wicomico County

    On August 20, 2019, 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.

Scrap Tires

The risks associated with scrap tires include fire, which can release toxic fumes and oils into the air, soil, surface waters, and groundwater; mosquito, rodent, snake, and other vector infestations, which can spread diseases such as West Nile Virus and malaria; and release of other pollutants to the environment. Disposing of scrap tires in an open dump or in a landfill in Maryland is prohibited. Any company or individual who generates hauls, or processes (including recycles, uses as fuel, or processes at a solid waste acceptance facility) scrap tires must obtain a license from the Maryland Department of the Environment. These licenses require the licensees to properly handle, transfer, or process scrap tires to protect the public health and the environment. All licensees are required to submit semi-annual reports each February 1st and August 1st documenting the quantity and location of all scrap tires that were generated, hauled, transferred, and processed during the preceding 6-month reporting period.

  • The Estate of Gregory A. Smith and G & TL Smith Contracting, LLC – Chesapeake Beach, Calvert County

    On September 17, 2019, the department entered into a Settlement Agreement to resolve alleged violations of Maryland’s scrap tire law. The defendants agreed to a $10,000 penalty.

Solid Waste

Solid waste acceptance facilities must ensure the proper disposal of solid waste in an environmentally acceptable manner while protecting the public health and the environment, including surface and groundwater. A Refuse Disposal Permit is required for the installation, alteration, or extension of a solid waste acceptance facility. The Permit regulates the design, construction, operation, and monitoring of such facilities to minimize the impact on public health and the environment. Municipal, rubble, and some industrial waste landfills are required to have liners and leachate collection systems that facilitate the collection of leachate and prevent migration of pollutants out of the landfill to adjacent subsurface soil, groundwater, and surface water. With some exceptions, processing and transfer activities are required to be conducted in an enclosed building to control odor, dust, and noise.

  • Cunningham Excavating, Inc. – Crofton, Anne Arundel County

    On July 9, 2019, the department entered into a Settlement Agreement and Consent Order to resolve alleged violations of Maryland’s refuse disposal law. The defendant agreed to a $20,000 penalty.


Air Pollution and Radiation Enforcement Actions

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.

  • GenOn Dickerson – Montgomery County

    On August 9, 2019, the department and the GenOn Dickerson coal-fired power plant finalized a Settlement Agreement to address alleged air pollution violations at the plant. GenOn failed a particulate matter stack test. After performing some maintenance, the facility retested and passed. The plant is now operating in compliance. The Settlement Agreement required payment of a $50,000 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.

  • United Container Acquisition Building Trust WWTP – Baltimore County, MD

    On August 13, 2019, the department issued stipulated penalties of $10,200 to United Container Acquisition Building Trust to resolve 51 alleged effluent violations at the United Container Acquisition Building Trust Wastewater Treatment Plant from February 2013 through April 2018. The stipulated penalties were assessed in accordance with a consent order.

  • Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission, Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties, MD

    On October 10, 2019, the department issued stipulated penalties of $64,875 to the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission to resolve 105 sanitary sewer discharges from the WSSC collection system from July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018. The stipulated penalties were assessed in accordance with a civil consent decree. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will issue a separate demand for an additional $64,875 to resolve the same sanitary sewer discharges.


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