AG Gansler Secures Guilty Plea in Improper Solid Waste Disposal Case
Eastern Shore contractor must pay big fine, perform community service
Baltimore, MD ( Nov. 8, 2012) - Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler announced today that Eastern Shore contractor, Peter Ivan, of Eden, has pleaded guilty to multiple criminal counts of improper solid waste disposal by open burning and violation of disposal regulations. Wicomico County Circuit Court Judge W. Newton Jackson III imposed a $30,000 fine, with $10,000 of that to be paid during a five-year probation period. Ivan received a six-month suspended sentence and was ordered to complete 100 hours of community service.
"We must send the message that those who harm our fragile environment, and jeopardize the health and welfare of Marylanders, will pay the price," said Attorney General Gansler. "By trying to save a few dollars, this individual did much more costly damage and is now being held accountable for those actions."
The guilty plea stems from an incident that occurred April 2, 2011. Ivan was burning a large construction debris pile on his property. Wicomico County Health Department officials responded to the site and called the Fruitland Fire Department when it was clear the defendant's employees were unable to contain the fire. The fire department dispatched five units to extinguish the fire. Large debris piles on the site measured approximately 100-feet by 100-feet, with one-third of that ablaze. It took approximately one hour to extinguish the fire. Items observed in the solid waste piles included lumber, vinyl siding, plastic goods, insulation, cabinetry, carpeting and other debris from the defendant's construction business, which had been dumped on his property to avoid paying proper landfill fees.
Unauthorized open burning is significant because toxic chemicals, including hydrogen chloride, hydrogen cyanide, sulfur dioxide, dioxin and heavy metals are released into the environment. These contaminants can cause sometimes very significant health problems, such as damage to lungs, nervous system, kidneys and liver, and aggravate existing diseases and conditions, including cancer, asthma, bronchitis and emphysema.
Unauthorized refuse disposal pose health, safety and environmental threats, such as fire and explosion, release of toxic gases, rodent infestation and disease, and contamination of soil and waterways, as well as contamination of well water used for drinking.