5 charged with illegal lead paint removal

Officials allege men didn't have permits

April 02, 1999|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

Five people were charged yesterday with polluting Maryland waters by illegally discharging runoff from operations to remove lead paint from the outside of buildings in Baltimore, the state attorney general's office said.

Authorities alleged that none of the five had the necessary permits to allow them to strip lead paint from the buildings and that all violated state environmental laws designed to ensure that lead-laden water does not enter public storm drains. Conviction on the charges could result in a $25,000 fine and a year in jail.

Charged were Otha W. High, 39; Al Jeter, 33; Anthony R. Lewis, 40, and James J. Lucas, 34, all of Baltimore, and Everett W. Ellis Jr., 39, of Westminster, the attorney general's office said. High, Jeter and Lewis also were charged with acting as a contractor without a valid license, which carries a maximum penalty of $1,000 and 30 days in jail.

The violations allegedly occurred at five buildings between September and November 1998.

Removing lead paint from the outside of buildings typically involves applying a corrosive chemical, followed by hydro-blasting, according to the attorney general's office. The water containing the dissolved lead paint must be properly contained and disposed to prevent discharge into storm drains.

Lead paint is present in thousands of older inner-city buildings. Children who ingest paint chips can experience mental retardation and behavioral problems.

Pub Date: 4/02/99

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