Former Meade official convicted Falsifying sewage treatment records

January 28, 1991|By Kelly Gilbert | Kelly Gilbert,Evening Sun Staff

Fort Meade's former waste water treatment plant supervisor has been convicted of 10 criminal charges for falsifying sewage treatment records and for stealing government property he used in a part-time job at a Jessup motel.

A jury returned the verdict against Richard A. Pond, 34, of Laurel last week in U.S. District Court in Baltimore, concluding a trial that lasted less than three days.

Pond was convicted of nine Clean Water Act violations tied t the false reporting and one count of theft of government property for using the Army base's laboratory supplies and equipment to analyze effluent samples for the Parkway Manor Motel, at Md. 175 and Clark Road, where he worked part-time.

Pond is the fifth civilian employee in the country to be convicte of violating environmental laws and the first to be charged in Maryland with falsifying National Pollution Discharge Elimination System, or NPDES, reports required by the Clean Water Act.

Prosecutors Jane F. Barrett and Robert M. Thomas Jr. said th fort polluted the Little Patuxent River, where its sewage is dumped. But they said contents of the polluted wastewater and its public impact could not be determined.

Marlene Patillo, a state Department of the Environment auditor testified in the trial that she found records missing and evidence that the lab equipment had not been used for some time when she visited the plant in late 1988.

FBI Agent Gregory B. Groves told the jury that he seized plan records on a search warrant, but found no evidence in them that certain tests were performed as required.

One former plant employee testified that he quit after Pon ordered him to falsify records to hide the fact that they were not conducting the required effluent tests.

The trial was expected to last about two weeks. But th proceeding was substantially shortened by brief cross-examinations of prosecution witnesses by Pond's attorneys, who did not call any witnesses in his defense.

Judge Frederic N. Smalkin set sentencing for April 17.

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