County Business Owner Pleads Guilty to Illegal Storage of Hazardous
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.