Pa. firm fined $50,000 for violating sludge laws Company worked in Queen Anne's

January 29, 1993|By Timothy B. Wheeler | Timothy B. Wheeler,Staff Writer

A Pennsylvania company has been fined $50,000 by the Maryland Department of the Environment for improperly hauling and spreading sewage sludge on farmland in Queen Anne's County.

The fine is the largest levied by the state against a firm that handles sewage sludge.

Ad+Soil Inc. of Kennett Square, Pa., was cited for more than 50 violations of state sludge regulations on 17 sites in the Eastern Shore county. The violations date to April 1991. The state accused Ad+Soil of routinely using leaking dump trucks to transport sludge, frequently spilling sludge on roads, inadequately working the sludge into the soil, and applying sludge on farmland where application was not permitted.

The department also suspended for one month all of Ad+Soil's permits to apply sludge on 31 sites in the state.

Ad+Soil has contracts to spread sludge from municipal treatment plants in Maryland, Pennsylvania and Washington.

Robert Perciasepe, environment department secretary, said applying sludge to farmland is an environmentally sound way to dispose of the waste, as long as state regulations are followed.

In this case, he added, violations continued despite repeated warnings to the company.

Washington County residents recently complained to their state legislators about Ad+Soil's plans to spread sewage sludge on a farm near Hancock.

They said they feared the sludge would contaminate drinking-water wells, expose people to disease-carrying organisms, create odors and reduce property values.

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