The state Department of the Environment issued an order to stop work and levied an $18,000 civil fine against Patapsco Excavating Inc. for accepting and illegally dumping solid waste.
The fine -- $1,000 for each of the 18 times inspectors have observed company workers dumping solid waste at its clean-fill site in the 600 block of W. Patapsco Ave.-- was levied by the department's waste management division.
State officials caught the company dumping solid waste, including tire chips and debris from the demolition of homes during a surprise inspection last week.
The incident is the latest in a long-running battle between Belle Grove residents and Patapsco Excavating, which operates the fill on 32 acres that straddle the Baltimore-Baltimore County line. The property is a few hundred yards from the community in northern Anne Arundel County.
Residents say they lose sleep because of noise from slamming tailgates and trucks that begin dumping as early as 5 a.m. on weekdays and sometimes operate on weekends.
The 500-foot dirt pile at Patapsco Excavating -- which nearby residents call "the mountain" -- looms over residential streets. Dust and grime blows into back yards, clinging to laundry and windows and scratching car finishes.
The Department of the Environment's water administration issued the stop-work order against Patapsco Excavating because the company did not have an approved sediment and erosion plan. The 32-acre site is owned by Ed Suddreth, who has operated it for 10 years.
The order "stops him until he takes corrective action," said Paul Stoner, chief enforcement director for the administration.
Mr. Suddreth has 10 days to appeal the state's action, state officials said. Mr. Suddreth's lawyer, Jeff Shear, did not return telephone calls yesterday.
Mr. Stoner said sediment from the site has run into the Patapsco River. The state has ordered Mr. Suddreth to close it and cap it.
In addition to his troubles with state officials, Mr. Suddreth has had difficulties with Baltimore, which revoked his dumping permit in 1991. The company does not have a dumping permit in Baltimore County, either.
"I felt like it should have been shut down long ago," said Dolores Impallaria, who lives in the 400 block of Old Riverside Road and is president of the Belle Grove Improvement Association. "This mountain keeps growing and growing and growing."
"I guess our main concern was that he would be stopped. It would please us very much if there was a way he would take it away," said Regina Scheydt, who lives in the 200 block of West Meadow Road. "But we have to be practical."