The general manager of Halle's Marina and Campground in Calvert County has been charged with violating the federal Clean Water Act by dumping raw sewage into Chesapeake Bay.
FBI agents arrested the defendant, Michael T. Strandquist, 34, of Annapolis, last Friday after they allegedly saw a marina employee dumping raw sewage into a culvert at the campground when they went to the Chesapeake Beach marina to serve a search-and-seizure warrant for company records.
The company has been under investigation since late July, when the FBI obtained information about the sewage dumping from two confidential informants, according to affidavits the FBI filed in U.S. District Court in Baltimore.
In one affidavit, agents said that when they confronted Strandquist last Friday, he admitted dumping raw sewage into the culvert since 1988 but said he believed he was discharging it into a leach field.
According to the affidavits, the campground sewage is routinely collected on Mondays and Fridays in a tank truck from septic tanks, public restrooms and other holding tanks at the site.
It is emptied from the truck into the culvert, which flows into a boat basin at the marina and from there into the bay, or into ...2...2TC tidal marsh at the opposite end of the culvert, the affidavits said.
Strandquist said he was not sure that the discharges went into the boat basin, but admitted that the flow "was sometimes dependent on the tide," the affidavits said.
Agents alleged that when they went to the marina at 7 a.m. Friday to serve the search warrant, they saw an employee connect a hose to the tank truck and discharge "liquid and solid waste" through a grate into the culvert.
The agents confronted the employee, whom they identified as Steve Poe.
As they started to walk away with him, Strandquist, who had been standing near the marina office, got into the tank truck and attempted to drive it away with the hose dragging behind, the affidavit said.
Late Friday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul M. Rosenberg freed Strandquist on personal recognizance pending an Aug. 21 preliminary hearing on the charges. Rosenberg required the defendant to sign a $10,000 unsecured bond so he does not have to report to a Pre-Trial Services officer while he is awaiting trial.
Prosecutor Jane F. Barrett did not oppose Strandquist's release.
The marina, also known as the Breezy Point Marina and Campground, is owned by developer Warren Halle. Its headquarters are in Silver Spring, according to court records.