December 20, 2005
BALTIMORE CITY COMPANY CONVICTED OF WATER POLLUTION
Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. announced today that
Masons Unlimited, LLC, a Maryland Corporation, was convicted
a pollutant into the waters of the State after a three-day
jury trial in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City.
On December 22, 2004 an employee of the Special Projects Team
of the Pollution Control Section of the Baltimore City Department
of Public Works, discovered a trail of brick-washing waste sludge
in the storm drains on S. Potomac and Fleet Streets. The trail
of sludge began at the 500 block S. Potomac Street and led from
the Fleet Street side of a building, and down S. Potomac Street
toward a storm drain inlet. The exterior of the building had
been recently power washed. Later that same day, investigators
the Environmental Crimes Unit of the Attorney General’s Office
responded to the scene and observed employees of Masons Unlimited
LLC using a water hose to wash residual sludge into the storm drain.
Lab tests confirmed that the brick-washing sludge at S. Potomac
and Fleet Streets had a lead level of 72 ppm. This highly toxic
and hazardous level of lead is known to cause detrimental effects
to the health, safety and welfare of humans.
At trial, the owner of the building testified that he had hired
Masons Unlimited, LLC, a company owned and operated by Jose Morales,
to remove the paint from the exterior wall of the building for
$10,000. Instead of properly containing and disposing of the highly
toxic waste generated from the paint removal and brick-washing,
however, Masons Unlimited illegally discharged the waste into the
Brickwashing contractors can not recklessly damage the communities
where they work by spilling wastewater containing lead. The majority
of contractors take the appropriate steps to protect the environment,
but when they do not, we will work with our partners in the city
and throughout the state to protect the citizens of Maryland,” said
Attorney General Curran.
This conviction follows a joint investigation conducted by the
Environmental Crimes Unit of the Office of the Attorney General,
the Baltimore City Police Department, and of the Special Projects
Team of the Pollution Control Section of the Baltimore City Department
of Public Works.
The Honorable Paul A. Smith scheduled sentencing for January 6,
2006. The maximum sentence Judge Smith can impose is a $25,000