Unlicensed contractor fined for dumping lead-tainted water


An unlicensed contractor has been fined $1,000 by the state of Maryland for dumping water contaminated with lead paint into a Fells Point storm drain.

James Joseph Lucas, 34, who lives in the Butchers Hill neighborhood of East Baltimore, pleaded guilty to the charge in Baltimore District Court and was sentenced to pay the fine to the Maryland Clean Water Fund.

The environmental crimes unit of the Maryland attorney general's office received a complaint Oct. 15 that outdoor paint was being stripped from brickwork at 1915 Bank St. in Fells Point. Investigators found a reddish-brown liquid leaking from the area and running into a storm drain. Chips of paint from the house were the same color as the wash water. A sample of the water was found to contain lead.

Asked by investigators how he was planning to dispose of the contaminated wash water, Lucas responded that he did not know, according to the attorney general's office.

Lucas could have been fined up to $25,000 and sentenced to a year in prison.

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