FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
January 7, 2000
Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr., announced today that a Westminster man has pleaded guilty before a Baltimore City District Judge to violating State water pollution laws when he used a hydro-blasting power washer to strip paint from a building on Kenwood Avenue in South Baltimore and flushed the paint-laden water into a nearby storm drain. Judge John R. Hargrove, Jr., sentenced Everett W. Ellis, Jr., to 30 days in jail and a fine of $1,000. Ellis, 33, was also placed on probation for a year and was ordered to perform 100 hours of community service.
This past spring the Attorney Generalís Environmental Crimes Unit charged several people with criminal water pollution in connection with five "power washing operations" involving the illegal discharge of suspected lead paint into Maryland waters. These cases were the result of a crackdown on contractors who strip lead paint from buildings without taking necessary measures to prevent the lead paint runoff from being an environmental hazard.
The removal of lead paint from building exteriors normally involves the application of a corrosive chemical, followed by hydro-blasting ("power washing") to strip the wall clean. The lead paint that is dissolved in the wash water which, unless properly contained and disposed, can discharge into storm drainage systems.
Under no circumstances may a contractor permit lead paint laden wastewater to enter the cityís storm drainage system.