15.20.07.07

.07 Assessment of Penalty.

A. An operator who violates any deadline for having a nutrient management plan, as provided in Regulation .04A of this chapter, is subject to a written warning for a first violation. If an operator fails to comply with the plan development requirements, as provided in Regulation .04A of this chapter, after a reasonable period of time following notice of a violation, an operator is subject to an administrative penalty of not more than $250 for a second violation and any subsequent violations.

B. Except as provided in §A of this regulation, an operator who violates any provision of this chapter or who fails to implement a plan by the implementation deadline, as provided in Regulation .04A of this chapter, is subject to a written warning for a first violation. If an operator fails to comply with the plan implementation requirements after a reasonable period of time following notice of a violation, an operator is subject to an administrative penalty for subsequent violations of not more than $100 for each violation. The total penalties imposed on a person for each violation may not exceed $2,000 per operator per year for each nutrient management plan.

C. The Department shall consider the following when assessing a civil penalty under §B of this regulation:

(1) The willfulness of the violation, the extent to which the existence of the violation was known to the violator, but uncorrected by the violator, and the extent to which the violator exercised reasonable care;

(2) Any actual harm to human health or to the environment or the natural resources of this State;

(3) The available technology and economic reasonableness of controlling, reducing, or eliminating the violation; and

(4) The extent to which the current violation is part of a recurrent pattern of the same or similar type of violation committed by the violator.

D. Each day that a violation of this chapter occurs, except for failing to meet a deadline for having a plan, as provided in Regulation .04A of this chapter, a separate violation under this chapter has occurred. Daily penalties do not continue to accrue as long as the operator takes reasonable steps to correct the violation. The maximum penalty accrued may not exceed $2,000 per operator per year for each nutrient management plan.

E. Unless a stay has been granted, an operator against whom a civil penalty has been imposed under this regulation shall promptly pay the penalty to the Department.

F. If an operator violates any provision of this chapter, the Department may require repayment of Agricultural Water Quality Cost Share funds already disbursed to the operator for a project that an operator is required to maintain, and may deny or restrict future cost share payments to the operator under COMAR 15.01.05.

G. If an operator fails to comply with the provisions of Regulation .04A of this chapter following the third citation by the Department, the violation shall be referred to the Maryland Department of the Environment for further action under COMAR 26.08.02.04.

H. An operator may appeal the Department's decision to impose a penalty under Agriculture Article, §2-405, Annotated Code of Maryland.