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Maryland Department of the Environment

Maryland Department of the Environment, Attorney General File Complaint in Circuit Court Against Curtis Bay Energy Medical Waste Incinerator for Air Pollution Violations

Operator previously fined for environmental crimes

BALTIMORE (March 14, 2024) – The Office of the Attorney General, on behalf of the Maryland Department of the Environment, today filed a complaint in Baltimore City Circuit Court against a medical waste incinerator in South Baltimore for multiple air pollution violations. The complaint asks the court to order the facility to make repairs and impose a financial penalty.

Inspections and emissions records over the last several months document multiple operational deficiencies at the Curtis Bay Energy, LP, special medical waste incinerator that led to emissions in excess of permitted standards, visible and unpermitted emissions of air pollution, and, in one case, a fire. Citizens from the local community were helpful in alerting the department to black smoke emanating from the facility and provided video and photographs.

Last summer, the company pleaded guilty and agreed to pay a $1 million penalty to the Maryland Clean Water fund—one of the largest fines in an environmental criminal case in the history of the state—as well as $750,000 to fund a supplemental environmental project.

“When the environmental crimes guilty plea against Curtis Bay Energy was announced, we were clear that the Maryland Department of the Environment would remain diligent when it comes to enforcement of regulations,” said Maryland Department of the Environment Secretary Serena McIlwain. “We will not tolerate unlawful practices that threaten the health and well-being of Maryland residents, especially those who are already overburdened.”

“I am disappointed that violations continued after my office’s historic case last year against this company. The priority, for all of us who are charged with protecting people, is the health and safety of the community that lives and works around this facility,” said Attorney General Anthony Brown. “The complaint filed in court by the Department of the Environment is critical. It sends a clear message that no one, including the community, has stopped watching, and if you don’t follow the rules, there will be consequences.”

One of the incidents under investigation involved a hopper fire on Jan. 26. Other incidents led to emissions through roof vents instead of passing through air pollution control equipment on twelve occasions in January and February of this year. The complaint alleges that the facility exceeded its permitted emissions limits for carbon monoxide, hydrogen chloride and particulate matter.

In December, the department entered into a settlement agreement and administrative consent order with the facility. That order resolved various violations by requiring the company to pay a $132,500 penalty and implement certain clean up and operational improvements related to its handling of solid waste.

The complaint filed today asks the court to impose a penalty of up to $25,000 per violation. Each day a violation continues is a separate violation under Maryland law.

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