April 6, 2005
UNLICENSED WELL DRILLER SENTENCED TO SERVE SIX MONTHS
Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. announced today that John
E. Branham, 71, of Mills Pond Road in Port Republic, Maryland,
was convicted in the District Court of Maryland for Anne Arundel
County of practicing well drilling without a license and drilling
a well without a permit. The Honorable Megan Johnson sentenced
Branham to a year in jail and suspended all but six months to serve,
imposed a $2000 fine, and ordered Branham to pay $4080 in restitution
to the homeowners. Additionally, Branham was placed on three years
of supervised probation.
In March 2003, homeowners in Crownsville, Maryland hired Mr.
Branham to drill a well on their property. After Branham
the well the homeowners inquired about the well drilling permit.
When Branham could not present the permit, the home owners asked
him to leave the property. After the homeowners called the Anne
Arundel County Health Department to report the incident, they
learned that Branham was not licensed to drill wells and
that no permit
had been obtained to drill a well on their property.
The Anne Arundel County Health Department and the Maryland Department
of the Environment inspected the partially drilled well and determined
that the Crownsville well was not drilled in accordance with
state and local regulations. Maryland regulates well drilling
the quality of wells and well water and to protect the public
health from improperly constructed wells.
Mr. Branham whose license to drill wells was revoked in 1998
has previously been convicted of well drilling violations. The
penalty for subsequent offenders for practicing well drilling
without a license is 1 year in jail and/or a $1,000 fine. The
for subsequent offenders for well drilling without a permit is
1 year in jail and/or a $1,000 fine.
This case was prosecuted by the Environment Crimes Unit of the
Attorney General’s Office, with the assistance of the Maryland
Department of the Environment, the Maryland State Police, and
the Anne Arundel County Health Department.