A federal grand jury in U.S. District Court in Baltimore issued a 10-count indictment yesterday against a civilian employee at Fort Meade, charging him with violating the Clean Water Act and theft of government property.
Richard A. Pond, 34, of Laurel could be sentenced to 15 years in prison and fined $750,000 if convicted of all charges in the indictment. Mr. Pond's indictment marks the fifth time federal employees have been charged with violating environmental laws.
Mr. Pond, who was superintendent of Fort Meade's wastewater treatment plant, was responsible for ensuring Fort Meade complied with a permit issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The Fort Meade plant discharges into the Little Patuxent River, a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay.
The indictment alleges Mr. Pond did not conduct certain required samplings between September 1988 and March 1989 and submitted false reports on five occasions between November 1988 and April 1989.
Mr. Pond, who also was the plant operator of the Parkway Manor Motel's wastewater treatment plant, was charged with using Fort Meade's equipment, supplies and personnel to analyze the motel's wastewater samples. The motel is located in Jessup and the violations are alleged to have occurred between December 1989 and July 1990.
Breckinridge L. Willcox, the U.S. attorney in Baltimore, said Mr. Pond's indictment was another example of his office's efforts "to vigilantly enforce the environmental laws."
Edwin B. Erickson, the EPA's regional administrator, said, "This case sends a strong message to other possible violators and enhances the federal and state environmental agencies' efforts to bring all facilities in the Chesapeake Bay's watershed into compliance with environment regulations."