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Garden State settles illegal dumping case

July 14, 1999|By LAURA ERNDE

WILLIAMSPORT - Garden State Tanning has paid a $36,750 fine to the Maryland Department of Environment, closing the case on alleged illegal dumping into the Potomac River and Conococheague Creek.

The company was cited last year by both MDE and the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

The agencies alleged that the Williamsport tannery violated the Clean Water Act and exceeded permitted limits for fecal coliform bacteria, ammonia and chlorine in its waste water.

In April, Garden State averted a court battle with the EPA and agreed to pay a $54,900 fine.

The settlement with MDE settles the state charges, for which Garden State had been facing a $50,000 fine.

In both settlements, the company neither admitted nor denied the allegations.

"We've done what they asked us to do and we're happy with the outcome," said Garden State Vice President Glenn D. Thornley.

The company has made improvements to make sure it meets discharge limits, according to the settlement.

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MDE also required Garden State Tanning to study whether more improvements to the company's waste water treatment plant are needed.

A professional engineer did not recommend any changes.

MDE is reviewing the study, said department spokesman Quentin Banks.

Garden State Tanning turns cow hides into leather for car seats. The water-intensive operation uses up to 750,000 gallons a day.

The company, with about 1,000 workers, is one of the 10 largest employers in Washington County.

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