BALTIMORE, MD (July 27, 2005) – Maryland’s Department of the Environment (MDE) will deny a Dorchester County business a state discharge permit and has taken action to force compliance with pollution control laws at its leased site.
New Earth Services, Inc. (NES) will not receive a state discharge permit and the company as well as Dorchester County must take action to bring the area, located along Galligher Farm Road near Cambridge which is leased to NES by the County, into compliance with state environmental regulations, MDE Secretary Kendl P. Philbrick announced today.
Effective today, MDE’s Water Management Administration issued an administrative complaint, order, and administrative penalty assessment to NES and Dorchester County to bring the NES site into compliance through the implementation of a final closure plan, which MDE must approve, for the company’s composting site. MDE also ordered the site not to accept any additional raw materials. The $50,000 penalty for past violations is directed to NES.
NES, has applied for, but does not currently possess a state discharge permit that authorizes discharges of wastewater. Since 1999, MDE has urged compliance action at the site and held repeated compliance assistance meetings with NES management. As recently as one month ago, MDE was close to signing a consent order with NES that would have required the company to install new technology and implement Best Management Practices to prevent ground and surface water contamination. However, MDE has recently been notified by NES that their existing lease with the County has expired and is currently on a month-to-month basis. NES as a result, has refused to sign the consent order and invest the necessary capital to improve the facility without an extended lease.
“Though this situation presents no immediate public health or safety threat, these are continuing violations of water pollution laws and we must act now to protect the waters and related environment,” Secretary Philbrick said. “This matter has continued long enough without positive resolution. We recognize the valuable service NES provides in that region of the state, but its practices must be legally and ecologically sound.”
NES operates a 30-acre agricultural composting facility on property leased from Dorchester County since 1995, adjacent to the county’s Beulah Landfill. The material being composted consists of crab chum, poultry manure and litter, poultry byproducts, horse manure, wood chips and other wastes from food processing. Raw product stockpiles are not lined or contained. Leachate and runoff of pollutants have adversely impacted ground and surface waters of the state, namely Gravel Run.
MDE stream assessments showed adverse impacts to surface waters directly below the NES site, including high concentrations of ammonia and total Kjeldahl nitrogen, extensive growth of iron bacteria and fungus, sedimentation, and extensive mats of filamentous algae. These water quality impairments resulted in a poor habitat rating and impaired biological integrity in that portion of Gravel Run.
The operation has continued to expand and breach of several of the facility’s ponds has occurred during large rain events to compound stream pollution/sedimentation problems. NES has failed to implement any containment or treatment for its large compost windrows or raw product piles yet continues to bring in more material to process. The addition of waste material is likely to exacerbate the nutrient load to an already impaired water body unless adequate control measures are in place to contain or treat discharges from the site.
MDE has taken previous enforcement action against NES for water pollution violations at the site – including a unilateral complaint in November 2001 that resulted in a settlement agreement and a $2,000 penalty. This is the second action brought against NES.