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For Immediate Release
April 6, 2005
Media Contact:
Kevin Enright 410-576-6357

UNLICENSED WELL DRILLER SENTENCED TO SERVE SIX MONTHS IN JAIL


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 began drilling 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 to ensure 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 Branham whose license to drill wells was revoked in 1998 has previously been convicted of well drilling violations.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 maximum penalty for subsequent offenders for practicing well drilling without a license is 1 year in jail and/or a $1,000 fine. The maximum penalty 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.
 

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