BALTIMORE — Discount Dry Cleaners LLC, Laurel, Md., and its owner, Mehret Sium, 58, have been convicted of improperly disposing of hazardous waste in Maryland’s Anne Arundel County, reports state Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler.
Sium, on behalf of her business, pleaded guilty to illegal disposal of hazardous materials. She personally pleaded guilty to two counts of failing to comply with hazardous waste transportation requirements.
The convictions stem from a March 9 incident when the Maryland Department of the Environment Hazardous Response Team was contacted regarding a suspected hazardous drum dumping on Dicus Mill Road near Millersville.
Investigators from the Attorney General’s Environmental Crimes Unit found 18 drums varying in size from 5 to 35 gallons that contained hazardous waste from dry cleaning solvent. Numerous containers had no lids, and none was properly packaged, labeled or marked pursuant to Department of Transportation regulations. The drums were traced back to Discount Dry Cleaners.
Sium said she had a man remove the drums containing hazardous waste from the outside yard of the business. She also admitted knowing that the man was not a certified hazardous waste hauler and that the drums were not going to be properly disposed of at an authorized facility.
Discount Dry Cleaners was fined $30,000, with $22,000 suspended (the balance must be paid to the State Hazardous Substance Control Fund). The business was also ordered to pay $6,251 in state restitution for the cost of removing and properly disposing of the materials, and was placed on five years’ probation.
Sium was fined $20,000 and sentenced to six months incarceration, both suspended. She was placed on three years’ probation and ordered to perform 850 hours of community service, according to Gansler.