Construction company fined $15,000 by judge

September 21, 1995|By Consella A. Lee | Consella A. Lee,SUN STAFF

A Frederick-based construction company hired to widen parts of U.S. 50 near Interstate 97 was fined $15,000 yesterday by a district judge in Glen Burnie for improperly disposing of construction site debris.

Judge Vincent A. Mulieri ordered Dewey Jordan Inc. to pay the fine for improperly burying lumber, corrugated pipe and other construction debris at the site. He also said the company would be on probation until it paid its fine. The payment deadline is Oct. 20.

Elizabeth Beebe Volz, an assistant attorney for the state Department of the Environment, said the material should have been taken to a licensed dump.

Ms. Volz said that because of a lack of evidence, the state did not prosecute the company for disposing of a drum containing creosote that was found at the site.

"We didn't have enough information on how that specific material got buried in the pit," she said.

The Department of the Environment and the State Highway Administration opened an investigation of Dewey Jordan in 1994 after an employee told officials he had been ordered to bury barrels he believed contained hazardous waste while workers cleaned up the construction site.

State workers found three 55-gallon drums on the site. One of them contained a small amount of creosote, an oily, tarlike substance used as a wood or concrete preservative that is considered a hazardous waste. The other two drums contained small amounts of disposable cups and other trash.

State officials said they believe the material was dumped at the site in July or early August 1994 while the company was working on the I-97-U.S. 50 interchange.

Although Dewey Jordan voluntarily paid to have the creosote drum dug up and properly disposed of in 1994, the state brought charges to discourage such activity in the future, Ms. Volz said.

The company has been charged once before of improperly disposing of solid waste, said Ms. Volz.

Michael Schatzow, the company's lawyer, said it paid a small fine a few years ago to settle that case.

In this case, his clients "made a mistake, which has been acknowledged," he said.

Ms. Volz said the money collected from the fine will go to Anne Arundel County, which can use it for other solid waste cleanups or enforcement.

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