TALBOT COUNTY TRAILER PARK OWNER PLEADS GUILTY TO DISCHARGING RAW SEWAGE INTO STATE WATERS
Baltimore - Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. announced today that trailer park owner Arthur Lee Foster pleaded guilty in the District Court for Talbot County to one count of discharging a pollutant into the waters of the State. The Honorable William H. Adkins, III sentenced Foster to pay a fine of $5000 with $2500 suspended, and 90 days, all suspended, with the condition that he replace five faulty septic systems at his trailer park and install water meters on all 15 of the mobile home units there. These improvements will cost Foster in excess of $50,000. Until the systems are replaced, Foster must continue to pump and haul away septic waste from the faulty septic systems, as he has since April 1999 when the illegal discharges were discovered.
According to the statement of facts read into the record, Foster, 70, of 12176 Church Lane in Cordova, Maryland, owns and operates Foster's Trailer Park at 10054 Longwood Road in Cordova. For several years, the Talbot County Health Department had documented numerous violations concerning the park's sewage system, and Foster was unresponsive to the department's contacts concerning these violations. In February 1999, the department inspected the trailer park and observed the outflow ends of two pipes discharging liquid which smelled of sewage. On March 2, 1999, a Maryland State trooper assigned to the Attorney General's Environmental Crimes Unit went to the site and observed a 3-inch plastic pipe discharging liquid that smelled of sewage into a ditch that flows into Goldsborough Creek, a tributary of the Miles River. The pipe was traced back to the septic tank at the rear of one of the trailers in Foster's Trailer Park.
Subsequently, dye was placed in the toilet of that trailer, and a few days later dye-colored liquid was found discharging from the plastic pipe into the ditch.
The charge of discharging a pollutant into the waters of the State is a misdemeanor within the jurisdiction of the District Court and carries a maximum penalty of one year in jail and/or a fine of $25,000 for a first offense.
"We don't know who installed those pipes, but Mr. Foster was notified on several occasions that he had a problem with his septic systems, yet he failed to take corrective action," said Attorney General Curran. "We're holding him accountable for that failure to act. Allowing raw sewage to discharge into Maryland waters is appalling."
The fine paid by Foster will be directed to the Maryland Clean Water Fund. This case was investigated by the Office of the Attorney General's Environmental Crimes Unit and the Maryland State Police.