Falsifying environmental records for sewage means jail for ex-official Former waste-treatment supervisor at Fort Meade gets 8 months in jail.

April 22, 1991|By Kelly Gilbert | Kelly Gilbert,Evening Sun Staff

The former supervisor of Fort Meade's waste-treatment plant has been sentenced to eight months in prison for falsifying records about the environmental impact of sewage he discharged into the Little Patuxent River.

Richard A. Pond, 34, of Laurel, received the sentence from Judge Frederic N. Smalkin in U.S. District Court in Baltimore.

Pond has also been convicted of using government materials for part-time work he did for a motel.

The Laurel man was given an additional four months of home detention.

The judge also ordered Pond to serve a year on supervised release after his imprisonment, and to pay $100 restitution and a $425 special assessment to the government.

The $425 is to go into a fund to aid crime victims.

A jury convicted Pond in January of eight felony violations of the Clean Water Act tied to the false reports and one misdemeanor count of theft of government property for using his Army laboratory to analyze effluent samples for the Parkway Manor Motel on Md. 175 near the base.

Another false reporting count was dismissed.

Prosecutor Jane F. Barrett said Fort Meade sewage dumped into the Little Patuxent contained silver and other heavy metals that had the potential for severe environmental damage.

She said Pond "lulled" regulators into believing that the discharges met state and federal standards.

Barrett and co-prosecutor Robert M. Thomas Jr. said the false reports indicated that the military base was responsible for polluting the river.

/# Pond told Smalkin he was "very,

very sorry for my actions and inactions."

"If I could change anything I've done, I suppose I would," he said.

The judge said Pond had "a long record of abuse of government facilities" and the prison term was intended to show others "if they falsify such reports, prison will be imposed."

Barrett, noting that Pond had been caught falsifying reports on another job in 1981, said his offenses at Fort Meade were "not an accident, not a mistake, not an aberration.

"It was deliberate misconduct."

Barrett called Pond's misconduct at Fort Meade "particularly despicable."

She said environmental regulation "depends largely on honesty among the people regulated."

Trial evidence showed that Pond falsified the reports and computer data that supported the documents.

He also had plant workers take "grab samples" of effluent instead of hourly samples, as required by the base's federal discharge permits and ordered workers to hide the fact that

they were not conducting the effluent tests.

Pond is the first federal employee in Maryland to be convicted of

bTC falsifying reports required by the Clean Water Act.

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