FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
September 16, 1999
Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. announced today that a Dunkirk, Maryland construction company has been fined $10,000 for illegally dumping wood waste at a subdivision in Calvert County. Edward B. Howlin, Jr., the resident agent of Howlin Construction Company, 2880 Dunkirk Way, pleaded guilty on behalf of the company before Judge Stephen L. Clagett of the District Court for Calvert County. In addition to the fine, Judge Clagett placed the company on two years unsupervised probation, pursuant to the plea agreement.
On November 2, 1998, employees of the Howlin Construction Company were observed burying waste at the Aspen Woods subdivision on Quaking Drive in Sunderland. The waste was being dumped into a 25-foot-deep hole, approximately 50 feet long and 30 feet wide. By the time investigators arrived, the hole was already approximately 10 feet full of wood waste. According to the Waste Management Administration of the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE), the company did not have a permit to bury anything at this location.
State troopers assigned to the Attorney General's Environmental Crimes Unit responded to a citizen's complaint about the dumping. At the scene, they questioned Joe Catteron, general superintendent of Howlin Construction, and discovered that the wood waste was being trucked in from off-site. Catteron said that the wood waste was to be burned and that he had a permit to do this, but the Calvert County Health Department said that Howlin did not have a burn permit for that site, although it did have a burn permit for two other sites in the Aspen Woods subdivision. An agent for the Health Department, after examining the site, said the Health Department would not have issued a burn permit for the site because of its close proximity to the tree line. When troopers asked a man operating a backhoe at the site what he was going to do with the wood waste in the hole, he said, "What do you think, I'm going to put dirt on it."
Howlin Construction was charged under the Maryland Litter Control Law, which makes it unlawful to dump, deposit, throw or leave litter on any public or private property. Pursuant to the law, Judge Clagett directed that the $10,000 fine be directed to the Calvert County Board of County Commissioners for the purpose of litter control. Howlin Construction Company was also assessed $55 in court costs.
"Companies cannot get away with polluting private or public property for their own convenience," Attorney General Curran said. "Illegal dumping of waste has serious consequences for our environment, and this company must pay the penalty for ignoring the law."
This case was investigated by the Attorney General's Environmental Crimes Unit and the Maryland State Police.