Court closes Balto. Co. dump, gives it 3 weeks to correct woes Inspectors say conditions at site violate state permit

September 25, 1996|By Lisa Respers | Lisa Respers,SUN STAFF

The Maryland Department of the Environment won a court injunction yesterday to shut down a troubled stump dump in Baltimore County that was the site of an 18-month fire.

The injunction, granted by Baltimore County Circuit Judge James T. Smith Jr., prevents James F. Jett from accepting waste at Patapsco Valley Farms on Dogwood Road in Granite unless environmental problems there are corrected in three weeks.

The property was the site of a fire that broke out in 1991, sending smoke into neighborhoods from Woodlawn to White Marsh for more than a year.

Quentin Banks, spokesman for the department, said the injunction was sought after inspectors found that conditions at the dump violated a state permit that limited the kind of materials Jett's dump could accept and the sizes of stockpiles of tree stumps and other unprocessed wood materials. Fire prevention requirements and operational procedures also were violated, inspectors said.

"The [violations] that our inspectors found included poor drainage, inadequate access roads, lack of firebreaks and stockpiling of flammable material outside of the permitted area -- essentially, the conditions that led to the fire," Banks said.

Earlier inspections this year and in 1995 found similar violations, and the department initiated enforcement action against the dump. But although much of the excess wood waste was removed, officials said other violations were not corrected and the department filed suit against Jett on Aug. 5.

Matthew and Dennis Brigance, owners of Liberty Disposal, also were named in the suit.

Trouble at the dump began after their company stopped managing it earlier this year, Matthew Brigance said.

"We at one time had an operating lease and we had county inspectors in twice a month," said Matthew Brigance, whose firm managed the dump from June 1995 until Feb. 1. "Apparently there was a downturn after we left."

The suit is scheduled to go to trial in December.

Pub Date: 9/25/96

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