National Clothesline
National Clothesline
Maryland cleaner pleads guilty, fined for waste disposal
The owner of a Laurel MD, drycleaning business has pleaded guilty to improperly disposing of cleaning solvents near Millersville.
Mehret Sium, owner of Discount Dry Cleaners, entered guilty pleas on behalf of Discount Drycleaners Aug. 31 in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court to charges of illegal disposal of hazardous materials. She also pled guilty personally to two counts of failing to comply with hazardous waste transportation requirements.
The business was fined $30,000, 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.
“When hazardous materials are not properly discarded, there can be harmful public health and environmental consequences,” said Attorney General Gansler in announcing the convictions. “It is the responsibility of all Marylanders to help protect and preserve the environment for future generations. Those who violate the law will not go unpunished.”
The conviction stemmed from an incident that occurred last March when the Maryland Department of the Environment Hazardous Response Team was contacted about a suspected hazardous drum dumping on Dicus Mill Road near Millersville.
The department asked the Attorney General's Environmental Crimes Unit investigators to come to the site. Investigators found 18 drums in sizes varying from five to 35 gallons that contained hazardous waste from drycleaning solvent that had been placed on the side of the road. Numerous containers had no lids and none were 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, which she knew contained hazardous waste, from the outside yard of the business. Sium also knew that the person she authorized to transport the materials was not a certified hazardous waste hauler and the drums were not going to be properly disposed of at an authorized facility.
MAC plans final meeting for 2012
The Midatlantic Association of Cleaners will hold its final event of the year on Dec. 1 and 2 at the Williamsburg, VA, Holiday Inn. The occasion include both a meeting of the board of directors and the association’s annual meeting.
For more information, contact Richard Ehrenreich, MAC’s executive director, (800) 235-8360.

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