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For Immediate Release
November 1, 2002
Contact: Sean Caine, 410-576-6357

CONCRETE PLANT OPERATOR FINED $100,000 FOR WATER POLLUTION CRIMES

Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. announced today that D & G Brice Contractors, Inc. ( Brice) has been convicted of illegally discharging pollutants to State waters and operating an industrial facility without required discharge permits. The convictions are the result of repeated discharges of an alkaline concrete slurry from Brice’s concrete facility into waters of the State.

Brice entered guilty pleas to four counts of illegally discharging a pollutant to an unnamed tributary of the Patapsco River which adjoins the company’s plant at 2901 Waterview Avenue, in the Cherry Hill area of Baltimore City, between August of 2001 and August of 2002. The corporation also pled guilty to two counts of operating an industrial facility without a discharge permit. The Honorable Evelyn O. Cannon of the Circuit Court for Baltimore City imposed a total fine of $150,000 and suspended $50,000 of the fine and then placed the defendant on probation for eighteen months.

Brice, which has operated the facility since 1996, repeatedly allowed industrial wastewater to spill out of a settling basin at the facility and run off the plant property into the adjoining stream. The settling basin collected the run-off from the plant’s batch house where concrete was mixed prior to being loaded onto the company’s thirty concrete mixers. Additionally, the concrete mixers and the company’s dump trucks were routinely washed out resulting in the concrete-laden wastewater flowing into the settling basin. Investigators from the Attorney General’s Environmental Crimes Unit took samples of the wastewater as it entered the stream. Those samples had elevated pH levels, were discolored and contained high levels of suspended solids or particulate matter.

According to the statement of facts in support of the guilty pleas, the defendant operated under a discharge permit that expired in August of 2000. The defendant failed to renew its water discharge permit despite receiving reminders from the Maryland Department of the Environment’s Water Management Administration. The discharges that resulted in the guilty pleas would have violated the Defendant’s prior permit due to the suspended solids, elevated pH and the Defendant’s failure to regularly monitor the discharge.

"We will continue to fight to protect the quality of the Chesapeake Bay and all State waterways by taking action against those who illegally discharge pollutants. Industrial facilities that willfully disregard our environmental laws will be held accountable."

Attorney General Curran’s Environmental Crimes Unit investigated the case with the assistance of the Baltimore City Police Department, the Maryland State Police, the Criminal Investigation Division of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the Maryland Department of the Environment. The maximum penalty for each count of water pollution is one year in jail and/or a $25,000 fine.

The case was referred to the Environmental Crimes Unit by the Maryland Department of the Environment, which had previously imposed an administrative penalty against the corporation for prior wastewater discharges at the facility.

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