Summary: Curtis Bay Energy, the nation’s largest medical waste incinerator, has pleaded guilty to environment-related charges and will pay a $1.75 million fine for exposing the public to biohazardous material. The company repeatedly overloaded its incinerators and failed to properly burn medical waste before sending it to landfills. The fine is one of the highest in Maryland’s history and includes funding for pollution mitigation efforts in the affected Curtis Bay neighborhood.
Curtis Bay Energy, the owner of a south Baltimore incineration plant, has pleaded guilty to dozens of environment-related charges and has agreed to pay a fine of $1.75 million. Maryland state prosecutors accused the firm of exposing the public to biohazardous material. The waste, which comes from hospitals and laboratories, is supposed to be burned into ash before being transported to landfills to prevent disease transmission.
The investigation revealed that the company repeatedly overloaded its incinerators and failed to sufficiently burn medical waste before sending it to landfills. Photographs provided by witnesses showed significant amounts of unburned medical waste, including surgical gloves and medical supplies. Prosecutors also observed a load of waste leaking fluid during transportation to a landfill in Virginia. This misconduct posed a clear and obvious threat to public health.
In addition to the fine, Curtis Bay Energy will pay $1 million to the Maryland Clean Water Fund and $750,000 to support environmental cleanup projects in and around Curtis Bay. The settlement agreement was signed on August 18. The company also installed an illegal pump that discharged wastewater onto an adjacent property and attempted to hide this illegal discharge from environmental inspectors.
The former director of operations at the plant pleaded guilty in the case, while charges against the former manager are still pending. Maryland Attorney General Anthony Brown emphasized the seriousness of the violations and the impact on public health. The settlement agreement marks an important step towards addressing environmental injustice in underserved communities, as highlighted by Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott.
Tags: Maryland, medical waste incinerator, biohazardous material, fine, environmental violations, pollution mitigation, public health, clean water fund, environmental cleanup, environmental injustice