Department of the Environment Significant Enforcement Actions (July 2020 – September 2020)


​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 9,914 enforcement actions in Fiscal Year 2019, 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:

Bluehedge Group, Inc. and Arthur D. Webster – Salisbury, Wicomico County
Eight affected properties – On July 8, 2020, the department entered into a Settlement Agreement and Consent Order to resolve alleged violations of Maryland’s lead law. The defendants agreed to a $14,000 penalty.

Oil Control 
The Oil Control Program has highly trained staff to help companies and individuals ensure that their Underground Storage Tanks (USTs) are in compliance with State and federal regulations. All regulated USTs within Maryland are required to be registered through the Underground Storage Tank Notification Program. All USTs storing motor fuels (e.g., gasoline, diesel) must meet specific technical standards (corrosion protection, spill/overfill prevention, leak detection and financial responsibility) or be removed from the ground.

Griffith Energy Services, Inc. – Westminster, Carroll County
On September 8, 2020, the department entered into a Settlement and Consent Order to resolve alleged violations of Maryland’s underground storage tank law. The defendant agreed to pay a $75,000 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.

1411 Division Street, LLC – Baltimore City
On July 28, 2020, a Baltimore City Circuit Court judge signed a Consent Decree to settle an asbestos action filed by the department. The settlement addresses alleged asbestos violations at a demolition site at 1411 Division Street in Baltimore City. The LLC failed to notify the department of the demolition, failed to conduct an asbestos survey before demolition, demolished a building without abating asbestos and failed to comply with asbestos abatement workplace requirements. The settlement agreement required payment of a $100,000 penalty. The LLC had previously remediated the incorrect demolition, and the site is now in compliance.

GenOn Chalk Point – Prince George’s County
On July 8, 2020, the Air and Radiation Administration and the Office of the Attorney General finalized a settlement agreement with the GenOn Chalk Point coal-fired power plant to resolve alleged air pollution violations. The plant failed to properly operate its nitrogen oxide control equipment. The settlement agreement required the payment of a $75,000 penalty and implementation of procedures to ensure that the alleged violations do not recur.

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. 

Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission – Montgomery and Prince George’s counties
On September 1, 2020, the department issued $91,775 in stipulated penalties to the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission to resolve 133 sanitary sewer discharges from the WSSC collection system from July 1, 2018, through December 31, 2019 and the failure to report one discharge within 24 hours. The stipulated penalties were assessed in accordance with a consent decree. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will issue a separate demand for an additional $91,775 to resolve the same sanitary sewer discharges.

Baltimore County Department of Public Works – Baltimore County
On July 29, 2020, the department issued a $13,187.50 stipulated penalty to the Baltimore County Department of Public Works to resolve sanitary sewer overflows that occurred in 2017. The penalty was issued in accordance with a consent decreel. The US EPA issued a separate demand in the same amount to resolve these same discharges, in accordance with the terms of the consent decree.

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