Laurel dry-cleaner pleads guilty to improper disposal of solvents

The owner of a Laurel dry-cleaning business has pleaded guilty to improperly disposing of cleaning solvents near Millersville, Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler announced Friday. Mehret Sium, owner of Discount Dry Cleaners LLLC, entered guilty pleas Aug. 31 in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court to charges of illegal disposal of hazardous wastes and failure to follow hazardous-waste transportation requirements, according to court records.

The case stems from a tip received in March, when the Maryland Department of the Environment's hazardous response team found 18 drums of dry cleaning solvent waste on the side of Dicus Mill Road in Anne Arundel County. The drums, many without lids, were traced back to Discount Dry Cleaners. The owner told investigators she had a man remove them from the business, but Gansler said she acknowledged she knew he was not a certified hazardous-waste hauler and that the drums were not going to be disposed of properly.

The business was fined $30,000 fine, with $22,000 suspended and the balance to be paid to the state hazardous-waste control fund, according to the attorney general's office. The cleaner also was ordered to pay $6,251 in restitution to the state for the cost of removing and properly disposing of the materials. Sium, 58, of Burtonsville, received a six-month jail sentence and $10,000 fine, both of which were suspended, according to court records. She was ordered to perform 850 hours of community service and placed on three years' probation.

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