Baltimore concrete company fined $20,000 for illegally dumping hazardous material

Workers mixed flammable substance into soil in residential area of city

May 19, 1999|By Gerard Shields | Gerard Shields,SUN STAFF

Attorney General J. Joseph Curran Jr. has fined a Baltimore concrete business $20,000 for illegally disposing of a 55-gallon drum of hazardous material while doing work for the city last year.

Giovanni Lumaro, president of G. L. Concrete Construction Inc., pleaded guilty in Circuit Court last week to the dumping charges. Circuit Judge Roger W. Brown suspended $10,000 of the fine, placing the company on two years' probation. The remainder of the fine will be paid to a state hazardous substance control fund, Curran said.

G. L. Concrete was hired in 1998 and paid $856,435 by the city Department of Public Works to resurface 35 alleys in northeast Baltimore. On Sept. 15, Art Mayfield of the state Department of Environment Emergency Response Program reported what he suspected to be a clear liquid compound that is used to make concrete harden more quickly being dumped at the corner of Hillen and Heathfield roads by G. L. Concrete employees.

State police investigated and learned that an employee had been ordered to dump a 55-gallon drum of a concrete curing compound called 3100 Clear, but refused. Police learned that the drum had later been dumped and mixed into soil by a G. L. Concrete foreman and company vice-president Filippo Lumaro.

"Despite the efforts of one honest employee, the higher-ups went ahead and broke the law," Curran said. "In doing so, they exposed the neighborhood to hazardous waste."

G. L. Concrete officials could not be reached to comment on the matter yesterday. A call placed to their office was not returned.

Samples of the compound were taken from the scene and tested. It was determined to be hazardous waste under Maryland law because of its flammability, Mayfield said. Residents were in no immediate danger from the material. The state's biggest concern was the flammability of the liquid, Mayfield said.

State investigators accused company officials of disposing of the hardener by mixing it into soil in order to avoid paying a certified hazardous waste disposal firm to dispose of the substance.

A public works department spokesman said the company completed the work required by the city in the contract. As part of the judgment, G. L. Concrete was forced to hire a hazardous waste disposal company to remove the material, said attorney general's office spokesman Frank Mann.

"Our unit is very good at finding people that would normally get away with it," Mann said. "Whether it's hazardous waste or tires piling up, it affects the quality of life."

Pub Date: 5/19/99

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