The Evening Sun yesterday incorrectly reported charges related to the dumping of sewage into a storm drain at the Halle Marina in Calvert County. The marina manager is charged with violations on two dates, and the marina company is charged with violations on three dates.
The Evening Sun regrets the error.
The manager of a marina at Breezy Point in Calvert County has admitted to a federal jury that he dumped raw sewage into a storm drain for "three or four minutes" at a time.
Michael T. Strandquist, manager of Halle's Marina and Campground, testified yesterday that he dumped raw sewage from a tank truck into the drain pipe several times when the facility's septic tanks were too full to accept more sewage.
FOR THE RECORD - CORRECTION
He contended that the drain was plugged and that the sewage seeped into the ground. But, he said, "I knew it wasn't the right place to dump."
Prosecutors say the raw sewage wound up in Chesapeake Bay.
Strandquist and Halle Marina Inc., owned by prominent developer Warren Halle, are on trial in U.S. District Court in Baltimore on felony water pollution charges tied to sewage dumping in July and August this year.
Judge Frederic N. Smalkin dismissed one charge against Strandquist yesterday after prosecutors Jane Barrett and Kathleen Gavin finished presenting the government's case. Strandquist still is charged with two felony Clean Water Act violations and the company is charged with three.
Specifically, Strandquist is charged with illegally dumping sewage into the storm drain July 19 and July 26, and Aug. 2, when another employee emptied the truck into the drain.
The trial began Monday. The case is expected to go to the jury for deliberation tomorrow.
Strandquist said he normally instructed marina workers to empty sewage from the tank truck into one of the facility's septic tanks.
But he said that "sometimes," on summer weekends when the facility was full, employees would pump sewage out of customers' campers and boats but would have no place to dump it because the marina's septic tanks were full.
On those occasions, he said, he emptied the truck into the drain, which lay adjacent to state and private wetlands.
But he said that he never dumped sewage on the wetlands "because I knew it was against the law."
Strandquist testified that he didn't recall specific dates when he dumped the sewage into the drain. But, acknowledging the dates in the indictment, he said, "If there was dumping then, I did it."
Strandquist also said he was frustrated by a Calvert County health inspector who ordered him not to use a new 2,000-gallon septic tank that had been installed on the property due to a technicality.