FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
July 30, 1999
Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. announced today that his Environmental Crimes Unit has filed criminal hazardous waste and water pollution charges against two Baltimore City electroplating companies and one company owner. Charged are Acme Plating Co., Inc., of 1915 Benhill Avenue in Baltimore, its owner, George Schumann, 61, of Severna Park, and A-1 Plating Co., Inc. of 311 S. Haven Avenue in Baltimore.
Both companies are charged with illegally storing waste sludge that was contaminated with chromium and other controlled hazardous substances, which is a felony under Maryland law. A-1 Plating was also charged with the misdemeanor offense of unlawfully discharging wastewater contaminated with cadmium, chromium and other toxic heavy metals into the Baltimore City sewer system. Schumann, the President of Acme Plating, is also charged with the misdemeanor offense of storing hazardous substances in containers in a manner which may cause them to leak.
At the time of the alleged offenses, neither company had the necessary State permit for storing hazardous waste. In fact, during visits to A-1, investigators observed that drums and tanks containing hazardous waste were leaking onto the ground.
Both companies are in the electro-plating business, in which a number of wastes, such as cyanide and chromium, are generated. By law, companies that generate large quantities of controlled hazardous substances (“CHS”) are not allowed to store the CHS beyond 90 days, unless they have been approved by State regulators as a hazardous waste facility and have the necessary permit. Neither Acme nor A-1 had the necessary permit.
Although the charges filed today are only allegations of criminal conduct, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty, a corporation convicted of unlawfully storing hazardous waste faces a maximum fine of $100,000, while the maximum fine for storing hazardous waste in such a manner which may to cause it to leak is $25,000. The maximum sentence for unlawfully discharging contaminated waste water is a year in jail and a $25,000 fine.