Frederick Co. Company Pleads Guilty in Water Pollution Case

May 9, 2000

Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr., announced today that Richard Langman, President of Trans-Tech, Inc., Adamstown, Maryland, in Frederick County, entered a plea of guilty on behalf of the corporation, to the charge of discharging pollutants into state waters based on an allegation that Trans-Tech bypassed its wastewater treatment system and discharged untreated wastewater onto the ground adjacent to Tuscarora Creek. Langman entered the plea before Frederick County District Court Judge W. Milnor Roberts, who accepted the Attorney Generalís recommendations to fine Trans-Tech $25,000, suspend all but $20,000, and place the corporation on a one year probationary period. Judge Roberts ordered that the fine be paid to the Maryland Clean Water Fund.

Trans-Tech produces ceramic antennas used in the communications industry and mixes barium-based powders with metals, which they then blend, mill and mold. Dusts generated throughout the blending process are washed down, resulting in solids-laden wastewater. Trans-Techís floor drain lines converge in vaults which are pumped to a pre-treatment facility.

On March 25, 1999, during a routine industrial wastewater compliance inspection, a Maryland Department of Environment inspector observed an intentional bypass of Trans-Techís industrial wastewater treatment system. The bypass was facilitated with a hose which was receiving untreated wastewater from a treatment tank and discharging the wastewater onto the ground adjacent to Tuscarora Creek, circumventing a final treatment stage and the permitted discharge point. The MDE inspector took samples from the bypass hose, and the results of the lab tests indicated that the wastewater discharge contained suspended solids and fluoride which typically result from Trans-Techís industrial process.

"I applaud the MDE inspectors as well as our environmental crimes unit investigators," General Curran said. "It is important for citizens to know that state officials are vigilant in their efforts to curb all crimes, those that are highly visible, as well as those that are not."

The charge of discharging a pollutant into the waters of the state is a misdemeanor and carries a maximum penalty of one year in jail and/or a fine of $25,000 for a first offense.

This case was investigated by the Office of the Attorney Generalís Environmental Crimes Unit and Maryland Department of the Environment inspectors.

Media inquiries: Sean Caine (410) 576-6357