Inspectors repeatedly documented stacks of discarded tires, wooden pallets, and uncovered taxiways cluttered with food waste, construction debris, and even medical waste on company premises; 55 gallon drums filled with waste oil; and other hazardous liquids that entered the Chesapeake Bay watershed through gullies. The company’s properties in Cheverly and Baltimore, which featured a number of buildings and several active burrows, attracted swarms of flies and rats, according to the complaint.
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The complaint also describes the agency’s long-standing efforts to bring the facilities into compliance with state environmental protection laws, and says the company made only partial attempts to fix the problems, or did nothing at all, as illegal waste and landfills continued.
The complaint identifies Jeffrey S. Miller, who lives in the Potomac, as the owner of World Recycling and the managing partner of Pride Rock and Small World Real Estate.
Messages seeking comment from Miller were left with World Recycling on Thursday and Friday and were not returned. Court records do not list an attorney for the defendants.
But Jeffrey E. Miller, a retired engineer who lives in a Potomac residence named in the complaint, said when reached by phone that the attorney general’s office misidentified his home as the private residence of the recycler’s owner. Jeffrey E. Miller also said he contacted prosecutors and asked them to correct the error.
“I wonder how that happened,” he said. “I’m very annoyed.”
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World Recycling and its subsidiaries operate two MDE-registered sites that chronically violate state regulations on waste disposal and site management, the lawsuit says. One is at 5600 Columbia Park Rd. in Cheverly — whose 30,000-square-foot building was destroyed by a dual-alarm fire in January 2019 — and the other at 2740 Wilmarco Ave. in Baltimore.
No one was on the three-acre Cheverly site Friday, which is surrounded by wood and chain-link fences and marked with no-trespassing signs. Surrounding the factory’s ruined foundation were four bright red sidings, a few heaps of trash, and some scrap tires.
“We don’t mind,” says Brandon Martin, an employee at Xylem, a water technology company east of the former recycling center. He said that apart from the 2019 fire, no one had noticed anything unusual about the site.
Behind the site is a Pepco electrical substation and behind it are railroad lines. Across the street is a wooded lot that screens the George M. Boyd Memorial Park. Several other people in the industrial area also said they knew nothing about the center or the alleged illegal dumping there, including employees at Rincon Escondido Deli Bar and Restaurant and a mechanic from AJ Auto nearby.
The complaint states that recycling activities at Cheverly’s property have ceased after the January fire – at which point it began functioning as an illegal landfill and garbage transfer station. The complaint states that the Baltimore site has a license to operate as a recycling center but continues to operate in violation of regulations that limit acceptability or are designed to protect the watershed.
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The MDE, which entered into a consent order with the company more than four years ago to address multiple violations, says company officials have pledged to bring the site into compliance with environmental codes on more than one occasion, but have not done so even when more rubbish rolled onto the side. The January 10 complaint also states that MDE has been denied entry for inspections on more than one occasion.
In March 2021, The complaint states, An inspector saw more waste being dumped on the site and heard from a driver that Jeffrey S. Miller directed him to do so. Months later, an inspector saw an Eco Waste Solutions truck dropping a roll-off container on Cheverly’s property. The complaint states that Miller is also a managing partner of this collection agency.
Effective April 30, 2018, MDE and the defendants signed a Consent Order specifying the required corrective actions and a $45,000 civil penalty for prior violations. The complaint said the agency initially only collected $11,250 until the companies made efforts to comply with the law, but has since demanded full payment from the company.
Additional penalties — including $100 per day per violation — began accruing on April 30, 2018 and continue to accumulate, the complaint said. It is now asking the court to award an additional civil penalty of up to $10,000 per violation per day to all defendants.