Press Release

BALTIMORE, MD (August 8, 2000) -- Maryland’s Department of the Environment (MDE) filed a Complaint and Administrative Penalty yesterday against Edward L. Birtic, of Finksburg, concerning civil violations of the state’s hazardous waste laws. MDE is seeking a penalty of $25,000 for the improper storage of hazardous waste.

On May 19, MDE emergency response crews and city fire department units were dispatched to Birtic’s warehouse, located at 107 W. Heath St. in south Baltimore, to assist in the stabilization of hazardous waste stored in leaking drums. Subsequent investigations of the incident led to the issuance of a site complaint for the clean-up and removal of the material, air and soil sampling and the removal of asbestos-laden debris from the site.

MDE samples taken from the 85-gallon overpacked drums removed from the building found that nine of the eleven drums contained corrosive substances at a concentration that characterized them as hazardous waste. Also, metal samples from some of those drums contained chromium and cadmium at levels constituting a hazardous waste.

MDE’s complaint alleges that drums containing hazardous waste were stored at the warehouse without a permit as called for in the state’s hazardous waste laws. The specific requirements, which apply to allowable storage of hazardous waste for less than 90 days, are intended to ensure that waste of that type does not pose a threat to the environment or public health.

Additionally, the complaint alleges that Birtic failed to determine the type of hazardous waste stored, did not store those wastes in approved containers, transported the waste without using a certified vehicle and a certified hauler, and discharged the hazardous wastes onto the ground.

On June 2, the hazardous waste removed from the warehouse was taken to a permitted storage facility in Lewisberry, Pa.

Birtic has a right to a hearing on the penalty before the Office of Administrative Hearings.

In addition, the Environmental Crimes Unit of the Maryland Attorney General’s office is continuing its investigation of Birtic in reference to possible criminal violations of hazardous waste statutes.

MDE's primary mission is to protect and restore the quality of Maryland's air, water, and land resources. The department works to ensure achievement of the state's environmental goals while fostering economic development, safe communities, and environmental education.