State Fines Local Businesses for Alleged Environmental Violations

BALTIMORE—The Maryland Department of the Environment announced major enforcement actions in recent months for alleged violations of State and federal environmental laws to protect public health and our land, air, water and wetlands resources.

“The Maryland Department of the Environment's top priority is to protect public health and our environment. A consistent baseline of enforcement action prevents further pollution and risks to public health,” said MDE Secretary Robert M. Summers. “The majority of Maryland businesses comply with environmental laws. A strong and fair enforcement program protects our investment in the environment as well as the health and quality of life of all Maryland residents.”

MINING: 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.

St. Charles Community, LLC – Waldorf, Charles County: On May 21, 2013, MDE issued a Notice of Violation requiring compliance with Maryland’s Surface Mine Permit laws and seeking $10,000 for alleged violations.

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.

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, prior to performing construction activity, a person obtain and implement a Soil Conservation District-approved erosion and sediment control plan that must be maintained for the life of the project for any proposed land clearing or earth disturbance greater than 5,000 square feet.

Earth disturbances that exceed one acre are required to obtain a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit for Storm water Discharges Associated with Construction Activity from MDE. The NPDES Permit requires that an approved erosion and sediment control plan be obtained and implemented, that self-monitoring inspections occur, and that a log of such inspections be maintained.

State laws require 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.

Grunley-Goel Joint Venture, LLC – Charles County: On June 5, 2013, Grunley-Goel Joint Venture, LLC paid 5,000 to the Clean Water Fund to resolve an alleged violation. The NPDES General Discharge Permit for Stormwater Associated with Construction Activity logbook was not maintained for the Naval Support Facility Indian Head, Demolition and Footprint Reduction Program-Phase 2 Project in Indian Head.

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