Man Sentenced To 90 Days For Hazardous Disposal

First Jail Term Levied In County For Environmental Crime

June 26, 1991|By Robert Lee | Robert Lee,Staff writer

A Carroll County man received a 90-day jail sentence yesterday for violating the state's environmental laws.

Circuit Judge Eugene M. Lerner sentenced George Phillips Garratt III of Sykesville, the owner of Drumco Inc., to jail for illegally dumping barrels of hazardous wastes along the Baltimore City-Anne Arundel border. Lerner also gave Garratt five years supervised probation and ordered him to serve 200 hours of community service. His company also will be required to pay a$50,000 fine.

Attorney General J. Joseph Curran said that Garratt is the first person in Anne Arundel County to receive a jail sentence for environmental crime. Statewide, 10 people have been sentenced to prison sincethe state began enforcing environmental laws in 1980.

Curran described the sentence as "an important breakthrough" for his office, which has sought prison sentences but not received them several times inthe past. "We seek jail time and do not plea bargain with anyone whois a knowing or willful violator of the (environmental) law."

Forty-four drums -- some leaking and others full of toxic, flammable andcorrosive liquids -- were discovered last September by inspectors from the Department of the Environment at a 14-acre site at Arundel Boulevard and Aspen Street, just inside the county line.

The liquids were identified as residue that had been rinsed from old hazardous waste drums and were linked to Garratt's nearby drum recycling company.

The dump site is less than a mile from residential areas in Brooklyn Park and in the Brooklyn area of Baltimore.

Assistant AttorneyGeneral Bernard Penner, who prosecuted the case, said Garratt's stiff sentence can be attributed in part to his "abysmal" regulatory record, including a long history of citations and fines for improperly storing wastes at his Bank Street plant in Baltimore. The plant was operating under a state consent order when the drums were discovered, Penner said.

In his decision, Lerner noted that Garratt knew the consequences of his actions and that his violation was intentional.

Before he was charged Garratt, who pleaded guilty to the charges, had told the MDE that he couldn't afford to properly dispose of the wastes his business produced. Garratt could not be reached for comment yesterday.

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