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For Immediate Release

Media Contact:
Shanetta J. Paskel, 410-576-7939
spaskel@oag.state.md.us

Manager of Baltimore City Apartment Complex Convicted of Water Pollution

BALTIMORE, MD (October 31, 2008) - Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler today announced that his Environmental Crimes Unit has obtained a conviction against RPS Management Company, Inc., pursuant to a plea agreement in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City. RPS Management Company, Inc. (RPS) is based in Las Vegas, Nevada and manages apartment complexes for owners.

RPS managed the Beaufort Crest Apartments, located in Baltimore City, Maryland. On September 11, 2005, RPS was contacted by a tenant regarding sewage coming from the vacant apartment next door due to a backup in the pipes. By the time RPS maintenance personnel arrived, the backed up sewage was flowing out of the toilet and bathtub of both downstairs apartment units, flooding the entire downstairs level. The raw sewage wastewater backup became so serious that it flowed into the hallway and up to the top of several steps in the hallway.

RPS maintenance workers responding to the apartment complex consulted with regional management personnel, who advised there was no money for contractors and to do the best they could with two small sump pumps. RPS maintenance workers on the scene advised that sewage overflows were common at the apartment complex and RPS standard protocol was to use sump pumps to pump sewage out of the building and down storm drains nearby. Consistent with that policy, RPS maintenance ran hoses from an apartment window, using sump pumps to send the sewage outside. Raw sewage was visible throughout the apartment building, on the lawn, going into the gutter and down into the storm drain on the street. Children in the neighborhood were seen playing in these sewage ‘puddles.’

RPS pumped raw sewage into the storm drain constantly from September 11, 2005 until the Baltimore City Health Department disconnected the water supply on September 21, 2005. All apartment building tenants had to be relocated permanently.

Pursuant to a plea agreement, RPS entered a guilty plea to three(3) counts of water pollution, and received a fine of $50,000 directed to the Maryland Clean Water Fund. Untreated sewage discharge carries bacteria and viruses which, through contact, carry risk of mild to life-threatening human illnesses. Untreated sewage discharge also threatens fish and other species that live in the affected waters.

 

   

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