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MARYLAND COMPANY, OWNER, EMPLOYEE CHARGED IN PESTICIDE SPILL

Release Date: 11/15/2001
Contact Information:


FOR RELEASE: THURSDAY, NOV. 15, 2001
MARYLAND COMPANY, OWNER, EMPLOYEE CHARGED IN PESTICIDE SPILL
Luke C. Hester 202-564-7818 / hester.luke@epa.gov


Pied Piper Pest Control Inc., of Silver Spring, Md., the company owner, Martin Ira Rhode of Brookville, Md., and an employee, Charles Lewis Thomas, III, of Berwyn Heights, Md., were all charged on Nov.7 with federal law violations resulting in the killing of fish and other aquatic life in Rock Creek, a tributary of the Potomac River. Pied Piper is charged with a felony violation of the Clean Water Act (CWA) and a misdemeanor violation of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act; Rhode is charged with a misdemeanor violation of the CWA; and Thomas is charged with misdemeanor violations of both Acts. All of the defendents were charged in connection with a spill of the pesticide, Prevail, onto the parking lot at the Pied Piper facility in Silver Spring. Prevail contains cypermethrin, which is extremely toxic to fish and other aquatic life. The charge is that, instead of cleaning up the spill with absorbents as advised on the pesticide’s label, the spill was washed with a hose into a storm drain that emptied into Rock Creek. If convicted, Pied Piper faces a maximum of up to $700,000 in fines. Rhode faces a maximum of up to one year in prison and/or a fine of up to $100,000, if convicted, and Thomas faces a maximum of up to two years in prison and/or up to $200,000 in fines, if convicted. The case was investigated by EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division with assistance from the state of Maryland, Montgomery County and the District of Columbia. An indictment is merely an accusation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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