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For Immediate Release

Media Contact:
Raquel Guillory, 410-576-6357
rguillory@oag.state.md.us

Talbot County Business Owner Pleads Guilty to Illegal Storage of Hazardous Substances

BALTIMORE, MD ( December 2, 2009) - Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler today announced that his Environmental Crimes Unit has obtained felony convictions in the Circuit Court for Talbot County against Primitive Wood Design, LLC and the company’s owner, Martin L. Bueneman. Pursuant to the plea agreement, Primitive Wood Design and Bueneman each entered a guilty plea to one count of illegal hazardous substance storage and disposal. Judge Broughton Earnest ordered Primitive Wood Design and Bueneman each to pay a fine of $10,000 to the Maryland Hazardous Waste Fund. Bueneman was additionally sentenced to 30 days incarceration, all suspended, and one year probation.

On December 2, 2008, following an anonymous tip, the Maryland Department of Environment conducted an inspection of the Primitive Wood facility. Based on the findings of that inspection, the Maryland Department of Environment notified the Office of the Attorney General’s Environmental Crimes Unit and an investigation was initiated. Investigators met with Bueneman and reviewed the facility. Investigators found stockpiles of old 55-gallon drums and cans. Most of the drums and cans were old and rusted, with some of them open, punctured and leaking. Spillage and waste residues were found at various locations throughout the site. None of the containers was marked with the required dates of accumulation or with hazardous waste labels. The containers all appeared to have been on site for a number of years. Testing was done of the suspected substances and the results confirmed they were controlled hazardous substances.

Under Maryland law, a business handling small amounts of controlled hazardous substances may only accumulate them in a regulated manner and must, generally, have them removed within 180 days.

This conviction follows an investigation conducted by the Environmental Crimes Unit of the Office of the Attorney General with the assistance of the Maryland Department of Environment’s Hazardous Waste Division and the Maryland State Police.


   

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