BALTIMORE – The owner of a Baltimore medical waste incinerator has agreed to pay a $1 million penalty for inadequately treating and improperly disposing of mostly “red bag” waste from hospitals and laboratories, and for illegally discharging onto neighboring land.
Curtis Bay Energy LP pled guilty to 40 charges resulting from an investigation started in 2019. The Maryland attorney general’s office began looking into the operation after it got a tip that employees had disconnected and hidden an illegal pump and discharge hose to avoid its detection by a Maryland Department of the Environment inspector.
Investigators subsequently found evidence that employees routinely overloaded the facility’s incinerators with medical waste to process it faster. That often led to “raw” or “uncooked” waste being hauled away for disposal, according to court documents. On more than one occasion, investigators following a truckload of waste to the King George Landfill in Virginia saw liquid leaking from it.
Upon learning of the investigation, the company cooperated with authorities and began remedying violations, the attorney general’s office said. The firm was sold in 2021, and new owners have made “substantial improvements” since then, it added.
The $1 million penalty is one of the largest ever obtained by the state attorney general’s office for an environmental case. Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Martin H. Schreiber further ordered the company to pay $750,000 into a state-managed fund to be distributed in grants for environmental projects in affected neighboring communities.
The state also charged two of the incinerator’s former managers. One pled guilty and was ordered to pay $30,000 to the state’s Clean Water fund. The case against the other remained open at press time.