Wicomico Homeowner Convicted of Illegal Sewage Discharge - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Wicomico Homeowner Convicted of Illegal Sewage Discharge

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BALTIMORE, Md. - Authorities say a Laurel, Delaware woman is convicted of environmental crimes after they say she rigged an illegal system to divert raw sewage into a Chesapeake Bay Tributary.


Attorney General Brian E. Frosh made the announcement Monday. He says Marie J. Marius, pleaded guilty last week to misdemeanor charges of water pollution and the improper alteration of a sewage system at a home she owns with her husband on Bi-State Boulevard in Delmar, Maryland.


Frosh says Marius must pay $12,000 to the Maryland Clean Water Fund and perform 75 hours of community service. Retired Judge John L. Norton also ordered during her sentencing in Wicomico County District Court that she will be on probation for three years


"When people willfully and knowingly take steps that harm our environment, we will not tolerate it," Frosh said. "This was an egregious case, and I am glad that justice was served."


Frosh said the case stemmed from a complaint lodged by tenants who moved into the house in 2013. In February 2013, authorities say the tenants contacted the owners, Marius and her husband, Darnell, to tell them that sewage was backing up into sinks and the bathroom tub, the toilet wouldn't flush, and that strong odors were permeating the house.


Authorities say the Mariuses then hired a worker to install a discharge pipe from the failing sewer system into a wooded area of the backyard, which is adjacent to Wood Creek. The pipe allowed sewage to flow into the creek, which is a tributary of the Wicomico River, which flows into the Chesapeake Bay. The tenants told Wicomico County health officials that Marie Marius came to the property to monitor the work being done, as well as to provide payment to for the installation.


After pleading guilty, Frosh said Marie Marius was sentenced to pay a $35,000, with $23,000 suspended, meaning she must pay $12,000 immediately. She also received a six-month jail sentence, which was suspended.


Frosh also said the contractor, Charles Elzey, was charged with two counts of water pollution and 11 counts of installing or altering a sewage system without a permit, and the case is scheduled for trial in Wicomico County Circuit District Court in February.


Police say the illegal system was in place for several months. The septic system has since been repaired and the environmental damage cleaned under the direction and supervision of the Wicomico County Health Department.


Frosh thanked the Attorney General's Environmental Crimes Unit, including Assistant Attorney General Michelle Barnes and unit investigator Bill Schmidt, who worked with the Wicomico County Health Department on the case.


"Our team and Wicomico County did a great job enforcing the laws that protect our environment," Frosh said. "Damage like this just cannot be allowed to take place." 

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