EPA fines city, counties for pollution violations

The Environmental Protection Agency has levied nearly $250,000 in fines against Baltimore City and Anne Arundel and Harford counties for failing to adequately protect their waterways from pollution washing off streets, parking lots and lawns.

The EPA's Mid-Atlantic regional office in Philadelphia proposed fining the three local governments more than a year after inspections found they were violating permits requiring them to control storm-water pollution from government facilities, construction sites and businesses. Problems included failure to deal with illegal discharges, dumping, spills and neglecting pollution controls at government buildings, garages and maintenance yards.

Baltimore has been ordered to pay $90,000, Anne Arundel $83,500 and Harford $75,000. In each case, the proposed penalties are a fraction of the maximum fines the federal government could levy.

Andrew Dinsmore, EPA's regional storm-water leader, said the three localities have corrected about 90 percent of the problems found by the inspections since being ordered to do so last year. The inspections are part of the agency's effort to help restore the Chesapeake Bay by tightening compliance with environmental laws and rules.

Dinsmore said the Maryland storm-water inspections were the first in the region, but enforcement actions against other localities are likely. Representatives for the city and both counties say they either have appealed the penalties or expect to.

tim.wheeler@baltsun.com

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