AG Gansler Secures Guilty Plea Against Laurel Drycleaner
Owner admits to illegally disposing of hazardous waste
Baltimore, MD ( Sept. 7, 2012) - Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler announced today the criminal convictions of Discount Dry Cleaners, LLC, located in Laurel, and its owner, Mehret Sium, for improperly disposing of hazardous waste in Anne Arundel County. Sium, on behalf of Discount Dry Cleaners, pled guilty to illegal disposal of hazardous materials. She also pled guilty personally to two counts of failing to comply with hazardous waste transportation requirements.
"When hazardous materials are not properly discarded, there can be harmful public health and environmental consequences," said Attorney General Gansler. "It is the responsibility of all Marylanders to help protect and preserve the environment for future generations. Those who violate the law will not go unpunished."
Discount Dry Cleaners received a $30,000 fine with $22,000 suspended (the balance must be paid to the State Hazardous Substance Control Fund) and was ordered to pay $6,251 in restitution to the State for the cost of removing and properly disposing the materials. The business was also placed on five years' probation.
Sium, 58, of Burtonsville, received a $20,000 fine and six months incarceration, both of which were suspended. She was placed on three years' probation and must also perform 850 hours of community service.
The conviction stems from an incident that occurred on March 9, 2012, when the Maryland Department of the Environment Hazardous Response Team was contacted for a suspected hazardous drum dumping on Dicus Mill Road near Millersville. They asked the Attorney General's Environmental Crimes Unit investigators to come to the site. Investigators found 18 drums in sizes varying from 5 to 35 gallons that contained hazardous waste from dry cleaning solvent had been placed on the side of the road. Numerous containers had no lids and none was properly packaged, labeled or marked pursuant to Department of Transportation regulations. The drums were traced back to Discount Dry Cleaners. Sium said she had a man remove the drums, which she knew contained hazardous waste, from the outside yard of the business. Sium also knew that the person she authorized to transport the materials was not a certified hazardous waste hauler and the drums were not going to be properly disposed of at an authorized facility.