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EPA Cites Environmental Violations at Jessup Prison

Release Date: 10/4/2001
Contact Information: Bonnie Smith 215-814-5543

Contact: Bonnie Smith 215-814-5543

PHILADELPHIA – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced enforcement against a correctional institution for hazardous waste and oil spill violations. EPA cited the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services for violating federal and state environmental regulations at the Maryland House of Corrections (MHC) in Jessup, Anne Arundel County, Md.

An inspection by EPA and the Maryland Department of the Environment uncovered violations at the 830-acre prison facility. In administrative complaints, EPA seeks total penalties of $176,680 under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), which governs the storage and disposal of hazardous waste, and the Clean Water Act.

EPA Regional Administrator Donald S. Welsh said that today’s action is part of EPA’s coordinated effort to ensure that prisons throughout the mid-Atlantic region comply with applicable environmental laws.

“EPA will continue to work with our state partners to protect prison staff, inmates and the neighboring community from environmental violations, and ensure that prisons are held to the same strict standards that apply to other public and private facilities,” said Welsh.

EPA’s RCRA complaint seeks a $145,500 penalty for the prison’s failure to properly close, inspect, label and date drums containing chromium and lead hazardous waste, stored near the prison’s maintenance shop. EPA also cited the prison for failing to provide required training to personnel on hazardous waste storage and disposal, failing to submit necessary hazardous waste reports and failing to have a hazardous waste emergency plan. EPA has ordered the prison to immediately comply with applicable hazardous waste storage requirements.

EPA’s Clean Water Act complaint seeks a $31,180 penalty for failing to prepare a spill prevention, control and countermeasure plan for the six 30,000-gallon underground oil tanks, one 1,000-gallon and three 500-gallon aboveground fuel tanks at the prison. Oil storage and transport facilities must develop plans to prevent or reduce fuel spills, which can threaten America’s land and water resources. In this case, the prison is located adjacent to the Dorsey Run Creek, a tributary of the Patuxent River.

MHC has the right to request a hearing on the alleged violations and proposed penalties.

This is not the first time EPA has found non-compliance at prison facilities, last fall enforcement action was taken against Graterford Prison in Pennsylvania. The most common violations appear to be oil spill prevention and hazardous waste management requirements. These requirements are designed to prevent harmful, and costly, spills and releases, as well as to ensure prompt clean-up.

To assist prisons in understanding federal regulations information is available at EPA Region 3 has also established a website to help avoid some common areas of non-compliance at prisons. It is posted at under compliance assistance. The agency has also contacted relevant industry organizations seeking opportunities to provide compliance assistance, which included a presentation this summer for at the Mid-Atlantic States Correctional Association conference in Washington, D.C.