Harford County, MD
 
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Harford County Council by Bill No. 81-15;[1] amended in its entirety by Bill No. 90-83. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Environmental control — See Ch. 109.
[1]
Editor's Note: This legislation was included as Ch. 23, Art. VI, of the 1978 Code.
This article shall hereafter be referred to as the "Harford County Hazardous Materials Article."
A. 
The purposes of this article are:
(1) 
To establish effective programs and to provide additional and cumulative remedies to prevent, abate and control pollutants or combinations of pollutants, toxic materials or hazardous substances and waste.
[Amended by Bill No. 08-55]
(2) 
To protect the citizens, property and employees of Harford County from the health hazards and other risks resulting from releases or incident to the use, storage, distribution, possession or transportation of hazardous substances.
B. 
This article is enacted pursuant to the enabling powers conferred by the Annotated Code of Maryland, Article 25A, § 5(A), (B), (J) and (T); § 14-109 of the Public Safety Article; and the Environment Article of the Code. This article is not intended to supersede state responsibility and authority in the subject matters covered by this article.
[Amended by Bill No. 08-55]
For the purposes of this article, the following definitions shall be used:
ACT
The Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1986, 42 U.S.C. § 1102 et seq., all amendments thereto and all federal regulations promulgated pursuant to the act.
ACT OF GOD
An unanticipated natural disaster or other natural phenomenon of exceptional, inevitable and irresistible character, the effects of which could not have been prevented or avoided by the exercise of due care.
ARTICLE
Article I, General Provisions, of Chapter 146 of the Harford County Code.
AUTHORITY
The Manager of the Division of Emergency Operations or the Manager's duly authorized designee. In the event of a vacancy in the position of the Manager of the Division of Emergency Operations, the Director of Administration or the Director's duly appointed designee shall constitute the authority.
[Amended by Bill No. 08-55]
CODE
Maryland Annotated Code.
COUNTY
Harford County, Maryland.
DEPARTMENT
Division of Emergency Operations.
DIRECTOR OF ADMINISTRATION
The Director of Administration for Harford County, Maryland as set forth in § 312 of the Harford County Charter, as amended.
[Added by Bill No. 08-55]
ENVIRONMENT
Any land surface or subsurface stratas, any water surface including navigable waters, waters of the contiguous zone, ocean waters, ground waters, drinking water supply and any other surface water and ambient air within the jurisdiction having authority.
[Added by Bill No. 08-55]
FACILITY
Any buildings, structures, accessory structures, installation, equipment, pipe or pipeline (including any pipe into a sewer or publicly owned treatment works), well, pit, lagoon, impoundment, ditch, landfill, storage container and other stationary items which are located on a single site or a contiguous or adjacent site which are owned, occupied or operated by the same person or entity and which manufacture, produce, use, import, export, store, supply or distribute any hazardous substance.
[Amended by Bill No. 08-55]
HAZARDOUS MATERIAL RESPONSE TEAM
A team of individuals who are organized and trained for the primary purpose of providing emergency services, including removal and remedial actions, in response to the release of a hazardous substance.
[Amended by Bill No. 08-55]
A. 
Any substance or material designated by any of the following or as amended, and regulations enacted pursuant thereto of any of the following:
(1) 
Section 9601(14) of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA) [42 U.S.C. § 9601(14)].
(2) 
49 CFR Parts 172.101, Hazardous Materials Table.
B. 
Any gas, oil, motor vehicle fuel or petroleum products, as defined by Maryland Annotated Code, Environment Article § 4-401.
C. 
Any radiological or nuclear substance, any mixture or solution of radionuclide or low level nuclear waste as defined by 40 CFR Part 302, Table 302.4, Appendix B.
D. 
“Hazardous substance” does not include fly ash, bottom ash, slag, animal waste, human waste, and other by-products generated from the combustion of fossil fuels.
HCDEO
The Harford County Division of Emergency Operations.
[Amended by Bill No. 08-55]
PERSON
An individual, corporation, firm, association, partnership, joint venture, commercial entity, public utility, trust, estate, public or private institution, group, agency, political subdivision and any legal successor, representative or agency of the foregoing.
RELEASE
Any spilling, leaking, pumping, pouring, emitting, emptying, discharging, injecting, escaping, leaching, dumping or disposing into the environment of a hazardous substance, including but not limited to the abandonment or discarding of barrels, containers and other receptacles containing a hazardous substance. "Release" does not include a discharge permitted by state or federal law.
A. 
The assessment of suspected hazardous substances or the mitigation of released hazardous substances from a facility or the environment;
[Amended by Bill No. 08-55]
B. 
Such actions as may be necessary to monitor, assess and evaluate the release of hazardous substances; or
C. 
The disposal of removed materials.
RESPONSE ACTION
Those actions taken to prevent or minimize the release of hazardous substances, or suspected release of hazardous substances, including but not limited to storage, confinement, neutralization, cleanup of hazardous substances or associated contaminated materials, recycling, destruction, perimeter protection, segregation of reactive wastes, repair or replacement of damaged or leaking containers, collection of leachate and runoff, on-site treatment or incineration, provision of alternate water supplies and any monitoring reasonably required to assure that such actions taken protect the public health and welfare and of the environment.
[Amended by Bill No. 08-55]
RESPONSE COST
Includes the following:
A. 
Disposable materials and supplies acquired, consumed and expended specifically for the purpose of the response to the hazardous substance release or suspected hazardous substance release.
[Amended by Bill No. 08-55]
B. 
Rental or leasing of equipment used specifically for the response; for example, protective equipment or clothing and scientific and technical equipment.
C. 
Replacement costs for equipment that is contaminated beyond reuse or repair during the response, including, by way of illustration and not limitation, self-contained breathing apparatus, protective equipment or clothing and scientific and technical equipment irretrievably contaminated during the response.
D. 
A surcharge related to the depletion of the useful life of any equipment, materials or supplies with a limited useful life span.
E. 
Decontamination of equipment contaminated during the response.
F. 
Total compensation associated with the response, including but not limited to benefits (FICA, insurance), of County employees or members of the hazardous materials response team who are not Harford County permanent employees, to include regular and overtime pay, at the rate set for members of the hazardous materials response team, for permanent full-time and other than full-time employees or members, and any contractor, subcontractor or agent.
[Amended by Bill No. 08-55]
G. 
Special technical services specifically required for the response; for example, costs associated with the time, equipment and efforts of technical experts or specialists.
H. 
Any tests to determine the physical, chemical or biological properties of the released items and monitoring the site and adjoining areas.
I. 
Other special services, including but not limited to utilities specifically required for the response, as determined by the Authority.
J. 
Costs associated with the services, including housing and cost of care, supplies and equipment used to conduct an evacuation during the response.
K. 
Administrative costs, including but not limited to attorneys' fees and court costs.
A. 
Any person who:
(1) 
Is the owner or operator of a vehicle, vessel, facility or any other undefined site, or any person who would have been the owner immediately prior to the abandonment of a vehicle, vessel, facility or any other undefined site.
[Amended by Bill No. 08-55]
(2) 
At the time of the release of any controlled hazardous substance, was the owner or operator of the vehicle, vessel, facility or any other undefined site at which the hazardous substance was released.
[Amended by Bill No. 08-55]
(3) 
By contract, agreement or otherwise arranged for disposal or treatment or arranged with a transporter for transport for disposal or treatment of a hazardous substance owned or possessed by such person or by any other party or entity at any site owned or operated by another party or entity and containing such hazardous substances.
(4) 
Accepts or accepted any hazardous substance for transport to a disposal or treatment facility or any sites selected by the person.
B. 
"Responsible person" does not include a holder of a mortgage or deed of trust who acquires title through foreclosure to a site containing a hazardous substance as the result of a release.
TRANSPORT
The movement of a hazardous substance by any mode, including pipeline, and, in the case of a hazardous substance which has been accepted for transportation by a common carrier or contract carrier, the term "transport" shall include any stoppage in transit which is temporary and incidental to the transportation movement; such stoppage shall be considered as a continuity of the movement and shall not constitute storage of the substance.
VEHICLE
Any truck, railroad car, water vessel, airplane or other transportation vehicle used to ship, carry or transport a hazardous substance.
[Added by Bill No. 08-55]
A. 
No person shall discharge or allow the escape or introduction of any hazardous substance onto any publicly or privately owned property or waterway or the environment within the County unless such discharge is permitted under federal or state laws and regulations, or regulations of this article or any regulations promulgated pursuant to this article. A discharge or escape includes but is not limited to an occurrence:
(1) 
Due to a lack of maintenance on any storage container or vehicle in which the hazardous substance is stored or contained.
(2) 
That is a result of the lack of proper training and procedures associated with the storage, containment, use or transport of a hazardous substance.
(3) 
Due to the hazardous substance not being stored, contained, transported or deposited in compliance with federal, state or County laws or regulations.
(4) 
That is the result of a person who failed to take action recommended by a federal, state or County agency with regard to storage, containment, transport or deposit of any hazardous substance.
(5) 
That is the result of a criminal act.
B. 
Failure to comply with notification requirements set forth in § 146-6 of this article.
A. 
Notwithstanding any other provision or rule of law, regardless of whether intentionally or negligently allowed and subject only to the defenses set forth in Subsection B of this section, a responsible person, as defined herein, shall pay to the county all costs of response action incurred by the HCDEO, all costs of response action incurred by a volunteer fire and ambulance company, and all costs of response action incurred by a volunteer ambulance company:
[Amended by Bill No. 92-20; Bill No. 08-55]
(1) 
Amount. In an action to recover response costs, the County may include operational, administrative, personnel, payroll and legal costs incurred from its initial response action up to the time that it recovers its costs. The amount attributable to administrative and legal costs shall be 15% of the amount paid for the response action or the actual costs, whichever is greater.
(2) 
The authority shall promulgate rules and regulations which set forth the rates to be charged for response costs under this section.
B. 
Presumptions. There shall be a presumption that any person who owns and/or has a present possessory interest in any private property on which any discharge or escape of a hazardous substance or suspected hazardous substance occurs has permitted or allowed the discharge or escape.
[Amended by Bill No. 08-55]
C. 
Defenses. There shall be no presumption of liability under this article for a person otherwise liable who can establish, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the release or threatened release of a hazardous substance was caused solely by:
(1) 
An act of God.
(2) 
An act of war.
D. 
Waivers.
(1) 
Upon written application, the Director of Administration, at the Director's sole discretion, may waive all or any portion of the charges assessed under this section if the release was reported immediately upon discovery to the proper federal, state, and local authorities, and any of the following:
[Amended by Bill No. 08-55]
(a) 
Occurred because of circumstances that could not reasonably have been foreseen by the responsible person; or
(b) 
Was not similar to any release involving the same responsible person and similar circumstances that occurred during the previous 180 calendar days; or
(c) 
Occurred on land used for agricultural operations already regulated by federal, state, or local laws.
(2) 
An application filed under this subsection shall include supporting evidence for the requested waiver.
A. 
Facility or transportation accident or incident. Except as provided in Subsection D of this section, the owner or operator of a facility that manufactures, produces, uses, imports, exports, stores, supplies or distributes any hazardous substance and the owner or operator of a vehicle that ships, transports or carries any hazardous substance or extremely hazardous substance to, within, through or across this County shall immediately report the release or discharge of the hazardous substance.
[Amended by Bill No. 08-55]
B. 
Contents. Initial notification shall be made by the owner or operator of a facility by calling the 24-hour response telephone number (911 or such other number as is designated by the authority) of the HCDEO. The notification shall include each of the following to the extent known at the time of the notice and so long as no delay in responding to the emergency results:
[Amended by Bill No. 08-55]
(1) 
The name and telephone number of the person making the notification.
(2) 
The time, location and duration of the release.
(3) 
The medium into which the release occurred.
(4) 
The name of the person employed by the owner or operator of the facility or vehicle who has the authority or responsibility to supervise, conduct or perform any cleanup activities required at the release site or to contract for the performance of any cleanup activities at the release site.
(5) 
The chemical name or identity of any substance involved in the release.
(6) 
An indication of whether the substance is an extremely hazardous substance or other hazardous material or appears on the federal or County list of hazardous substances as periodically amended.
(7) 
An estimate of the quantity of the substance that was released into the environment.
(8) 
Any known or anticipated acute or chronic health risks associated with the emergency and, where appropriate, advice regarding medical attention necessary for exposed individuals.
(9) 
Proper precautions to take as a result of the release, including evacuation, unless the information is readily available to the community emergency coordinator under an emergency plan, and any other relevant information which may be requested.
(10) 
The name and telephone number of the person to be contacted for further information.
(11) 
Additional information required by federal or state or County regulations.
C. 
Written report. Within 14 calendar days after a release which required a notification under this section, the responsible person shall provide a written follow-up emergency notice or notices, if more information becomes available, to the HCDEO setting forth and updating the information required under Subsection B and including the additional following information with respect to:
[Amended by Bill No. 08-55]
(1) 
Actions taken to respond to and contain the release.
(2) 
Any known or anticipated acute or chronic health risks associated with the release.
(3) 
Advice regarding medical attention necessary for exposed individuals, where appropriate.
(4) 
Actions to be taken to mitigate potential future incidents.
(5) 
Actions taken in accordance with the requirements of the HCDEO.
D. 
Exception. The provisions of this section shall not apply to a release of a hazardous substance if the release of such substance is exempted, excluded or permitted by federal or state statute, law, rule or regulation.
[Amended by Bill No. 08-55]
A. 
Entry. A hazardous materials response team may:
(1) 
Enter onto any private or public property on which a release or suspected release of a hazardous substance has occurred.
(2) 
Enter onto any adjacent property to which the release or suspected release has entered.
(3) 
Enter onto any private or public property in order to:
(a) 
Respond to the release or suspected release.
(b) 
Monitor and contain the release or suspected release.
(c) 
Perform cleanup and response actions.
(d) 
Perform any other activities deemed necessary to the response of the release or suspected release.
B. 
Monitoring/inspection. In order to determine compliance with this article and this chapter, the HCDEO may send representatives to a facility or vehicle site, during normal business hours, to inspect the facility or vehicle and to request information or reports from the facility or vehicle owner or operator concerning the chemical name, identity, amount or any other information necessary for the emergency planning and response purposes for any substance, liquid, mixture, compound, material or product manufactured, produced, used, stored, supplied, imported, exported or distributed at, to or from the facility or vehicle.
C. 
Testing. Should a representative of the HCDEO determine during the course of a facility or vehicle inspection that the chemical name, identity, amount or any other requested information for any substance, liquid, mixture, compound, material or product present at the facility or vehicle cannot be identified or determined to representative's satisfaction due to the lack of proper labeling, placarding, recordkeeping or for any other reason, the representative shall have the authority to take a sample or specimen of the substance, liquid, mixture, compound, material or product, in those amounts deemed necessary, in order to have the sample or specimen tested and analyzed either at the time of the inspection or subsequent to the inspection at a County or private laboratory. The purpose of the test or analysis shall be to identify the chemical properties of the sample or specimen or to determine the amount of the substance, liquid, mixture, compound, material or product manufactured, produced, used, stored, supplied, imported, exported or distributed at, to or from the facility or vehicle. The owner or operator of the facility or vehicle shall pay any testing and laboratory analysis costs incurred by the HCDEO if the material tested is found to be a hazardous substance.
D. 
Emergency situations. Should a release or suspected release of a known or unknown substance, liquid, mixture, compound, material or product occur at a facility or vehicle site, which endangers or has the potential to endanger the health, safety and welfare of the public, employees of the facility, the vehicle's owner or operator or employees of the owner or operator of the vehicle or the environment or personal property of another, the HCDEO may send representatives to the facility or vehicle site at any time in order to inspect the facility or vehicle and to assess the danger posed by the release and to obtain samples and specimens of the substance, liquid, mixture, compound, material or product involved and to perform any other emergency response activities deemed necessary by the HCDEO.
[Amended by Bill No. 08-55]
The senior fire company official on the scene will be the incident commander. The senior fire company official may transfer control of the scene to the HCDEO upon express agreement of both parties.
A. 
Issuance. The authority may issue a NOV if:
[Amended by Bill No. 08-55]
(1) 
There are reasonable grounds to believe that the responsible person to whom the NOV is directed has violated:
(a) 
This article.
(b) 
Any rule or regulation adopted pursuant to this article.
(c) 
Any order issued pursuant to this article.
(2) 
The responsible party of a facility that manufactures, produces, uses, imports, exports, stores, supplies or distributes any hazardous substance that is required to submit a Tier II form under § 312(E)(1) of the act fails to comply with reporting requirements of the act.
B. 
Contents. A NOV issued under this section shall:
(1) 
Specify the provision(s) that allegedly have been violated.
(2) 
State the facts in support of the alleged violation.
(3) 
State any fines in accordance with this article.
[Added by Bill No. 08-55]
(4) 
State any orders or corrective actions in accordance with this article.
[Added by Bill No. 08-55]
A. 
In general. After or concurrently with service of a complaint under this article, the authority may:
(1) 
Issue an order that requires the person to whom the order is directed to take corrective action within a time set forth in the order.
(2) 
Send a written notice that requires the person to whom the notice is directed to file a written report about an alleged violation.
(3) 
Send a written notice that requires the person to whom the notice is directed:
(a) 
To appear at a hearing at a time and place scheduled in order to answer the charges in the complaint; or
(b) 
To file a written report and also appear at a hearing at a time and place set to answer the charges in the complaint.
B. 
Effective date of order. Any order issued under this chapter is effective immediately according to its terms upon service.
A. 
Manner of service. Any complaint, order, notice or other instrument issued by the authority pursuant to this article may be served on the person to whom it is directed:
(1) 
Personally.
(2) 
By publication on or at the entranceway to the premises or property from which discharges occur.
(3) 
By certified mail, return receipt requested, bearing a postmark from the United States Postal Service, to the person's last known address as shown on the Department's records.
B. 
Certificate of service. If service is made by certified mail, return receipt requested, bearing a postmark from the United States Postal Service, the person who mails the document shall file with the authority verified proof of mailing.
A. 
Hearing on order. Within 10 days after being served with an order, the person served may request a hearing by writing to the Director of Administration.
[Amended by Bill No. 08-55]
B. 
Subpoenas; witnesses.
(1) 
In connection with any hearing under this section, the Director of Administration may:
[Amended by Bill No. 08-55]
(a) 
Subpoena any person or evidence.
(b) 
Order a witness to give evidence.
(2) 
A subpoenaed witness shall receive the same fees and mileage reimbursement as if the hearing were part of a civil action.
[Amended by Bill No. 08-55]
A. 
Unless the person served with an order makes a timely request for a hearing pursuant to § 146-12, the order becomes a final order within 10 days after service.
B. 
If a person who has been issued an order under this article makes a timely request for a hearing, i.e., requests a hearing within 10 days after service in accordance with § 146-11, the order becomes a final corrective order when the Director of Administration renders his decision following the hearing.
A. 
In general. The County may bring an action for an injunction against any person who violates any provision of this article or any rules, regulations, order or permit adopted or issued under this article.
B. 
Director of Administration's findings. In any action for an injunction under this section, any finding of the Director of Administration after a hearing is prima facie evidence of each fact the Director of Administration determines.
[Amended by Bill No. 08-55]
C. 
Grounds. On a showing that any person is violating this section or any rule, regulation, order or permit adopted or issued by the County, the court shall grant an injunction without requiring a showing of a lack of an adequate remedy at law.
D. 
Emergency. If an emergency arises due to imminent danger to the public health or welfare or imminent danger to the environment, the County may sue for an immediate injunction to stop any pollution or other activity that is causing the danger.
[Amended by Bill No. 08-55]
A. 
No hazardous materials response team member, member of an industrial hazardous materials response team, law enforcement officer, ambulance service or rescue squad member, fire fighter or other emergency response personnel engaged in any emergency service or response activities involving a hazardous substance release at a facility or transportation accident site shall be liable for the death of or any injury to persons or loss or damage to property resulting from that hazardous substance release, except for any acts or omissions which constitute willful misconduct.
B. 
Other. No employee, representative or agent of a County agency or local agency engaged in any emergency service or response activities involving a hazardous substance release at a facility or transportation accident site shall be liable for the death of or any injury to persons or loss or damage to property resulting from that hazardous substance release, except for any acts or omissions which constitute willful misconduct.
[Amended by Bill No. 00-60]
A. 
The authority may charge any person who discharges or intentionally permits or allows the discharge or escape of hazardous substances with a civil fine of up to $1,000 per day. Each day during which a discharge continues or remains uncontained or is not cleaned up or recaptured shall constitute a separate offense and each offense shall be charged separately.
[Amended by Bill No. 08-55]
B. 
Any person who fails to comply with the requirements of § 146-6, Emergency notification requirements, may be subject to a civil fine of up to $1,000 per offense.
[Amended by Bill No. 08-55]
C. 
These civil penalties shall constitute separate offenses, in addition to any other civil or criminal penalties, fines or offenses provided for pursuant to this article.
A. 
Violating ordinances, rules, regulations, orders or permits.
(1) 
A person who violates any provision or fails to perform any duty imposed by this article or who violates any provision or fails to perform any duty imposed by any rule, regulation, order or permit adopted or issued under this article is guilty of a misdemeanor and, on conviction, is subject to a fine not to exceed $1,000 per day per violation or imprisonment not to exceed 90 days, or both. Each day a violation occurs is a separate violation. Each section, subsection, rule, regulation, order or permit condition which is violated constitutes a separate violation.
[Amended by Bill No. 08-55]
(2) 
In addition to any criminal penalties imposed on a person convicted under this section, the person may be enjoined from continuing the violation(s).
B. 
False statements in required documents. A person is guilty of a misdemeanor and, on conviction, is subject to a fine not exceeding $1,000 per day per violation or imprisonment not to exceed 90 days, per violation, or both, if the person:
[Amended by Bill No. 08-55]
(1) 
Knowingly makes any false statement, representation or certification in any application, record, report, plan or other document filed or required to be maintained under this article or any rule, regulation, order or permit adopted or issued under this article.
(2) 
Falsifies, tampers with or knowingly renders inaccurate any monitoring device or procedure required to be maintained under this article or any rule, regulation, order or permit adopted or issued under this article.
A. 
Rules and regulations. Pursuant to Section 807 of the Harford County Charter, the HCDEO shall have the authority to promulgate such rules and regulations as are necessary for implementation of this article and compliance with the act.
[Amended by Bill No. 08-55]
B. 
Severability. If any provision, paragraph, word, section or subsection of this article is invalidated by any court of competent jurisdiction, the remaining provisions, paragraphs, words, sections and subsections shall not be affected and shall continue in full force and effect.
C. 
Conflict. All other ordinances or parts of other ordinances or local laws inconsistent with any part of this article are hereby repealed to the extent of such inconsistency or conflict.
D. 
In any response action, the authority may not duplicate any response action taken under the act or the Code.
[Amended by Bill No. 08-55]
Any person who transports high-level nuclear waste into, within, through or out of Harford County by any road or highway shall notify the HCDEO of such activity. Notification shall be made in writing or by telephone to the HCDEO prior to shipment. Notification to the HCDEO shall include the following information:
A. 
Manifest number.
B. 
Name of shipper.
C. 
Name of carrier.
D. 
Type and quantity of radioactive material.
E. 
Date and time of shipment.
F. 
Starting point, scheduled route and destination.
G. 
The number of tractor and trailer.
H. 
The name of any individual that may be contacted on a 24-hour basis in case of an emergency.
For the purpose of this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
HIGH-LEVEL NUCLEAR WASTE
Will have any of the following definitions:
[Amended by Bill No. 08-55]
A. 
Irradiated nuclear reactor fuel.
B. 
Liquid waste from operation of the first cycle solvent extraction system and the concentrated waste from subsequent extraction cycles or their equivalent in a facility for reprocessing irradiated reactor fuel.
C. 
Solvents into which such wastes have been converted.
Exempted from the provisions of this chapter are any radioactive materials shipped by or for the United States government for military or national security purposes which are related to the national defense and any high-level nuclear waste that is transported interstate on I-95.
[Amended by Bill No. 08-55]
The HCDEO shall keep a separate and continuous log of each notification. The log shall include the information that shall be supplied by any person who transports high-level nuclear waste into, within, through or out of Harford County. The public may have access to the log during normal operating hours and may, upon payment of the appropriate fee, obtain a copy of the pages of the log.
[Amended by Bill No. 08-55]
Any person who fails to notify the HCDEO of such shipment may be subject to enforcement action under state or federal law.