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For Immediate Release
June 9, 2003
Contact: Sean Caine, 410-576-6357
scaine@oag.state.md.us

MONTGOMERY COUNTY MECHANICAL CONTRACTOR
SENTENCED FOR WATER POLLUTION

Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. announced today that John J. Kirlin, Inc. was sentenced on May 30 for unlawfully discharging a pollutant into waters of the State of Maryland. John J. Kirlin, Inc., located at 75 Derwood Circle, Rockville, pled guilty before the Honorable John W. Debelius, III in the Circuit Court for Montgomery County. Judge Debelius imposed a fine of $ 15,000 on Kirlin. In addition, the defendant was given probation before judgment, and placed on 18 months of probation. The maximum penalty for water pollution is one year in jail and/or a fine up to $25,000.

On April 12, 2002, Maryland Department of the Environment inspectors went to the company's facility in Rockville in response to a citizen complaint. While there the inspectors observed a Kirlin employee, later identified as the facility manager, pouring liquids from a series of 55-gallon drums down a storm drain. Subsequent investigation revealed that the drums contained sludge and liquids removed from the traps and drains of a nearby commercial car wash. The Kirlin employees had obtained the drums from the car wash to use in checking for leaks in the custom made plumbing equipment Kirlin produced at that location. When the Kirlin employees realized that each drum contained only a few gallons of soapy water and a solid black silty material, which could not be used in the fabrication process, they decided to dispose of the contents of the drums.

It is a violation of Environment Article §9-322 to discharge a pollutant into the waters of the State without a permit to do so. The waste discharged by the defendant is a pollutant by definition because it is the product of an industrial operation. Storm drains that lead to open waters are considered waters of the State of Maryland.

The Environmental Crimes Unit of the Attorney General's Office and the Maryland State Police investigated the case, with the assistance of the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection and the Maryland Department of the Environment.

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