Earlier this month, a judge ordered the owner of an alleged illegal commercial dump site to pay $60,260 in fines and court fees and gave a 90-day jail sentence
for the illegal operation. The ruling came after 90 municipal summonses and a multi-year investigation by the NJ Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) into the alleged operation in Vernon, NJ.
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During the trial, roughly thirty percent of the 90 summonses were merged, reducing the total to 59. Ultimately, the judge found the dump operator guilty on 52 summonses
and not guilty on seven.
Although the dump owner could appeal the decision, the judge has ordered the dump owner to surrender his passport if he appeals and has deemed the dump owner a flight risk.
Next Steps for Vernon Dump Site
Now that the trial is presumably over, local and DEP officials have set their sights on remediation.
However, the contents of the staggering seven-story dirt pile are still largely unknown. Officials have allegedly observed a wide variety of solid wastes deposited to the site illegally,
including plastic, rebar, concrete, piping, asphalt, and other debris.
On April 8, 2019, DEP announced the waste site was contaminated with hazardous chemicals
, after testing found chlordane, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), all at levels exceeding the State standard.
DEP Launches Guard Your Backyard Campaign
To help municipalities and communities manage fill material and combat illegal dumping, DEP launched the Guard Your Backyard campaign on Oct. 8. The campaign includes a dedicated website with local guidance
and a model ordinance that municipal leaders can download and modify to suit their local needs. This allows municipalities to take ownership on what fill materials may be brought into their communities.
In addition to the model ordinance, the website provides a detailed, easy-to-follow list of what is and isn’t considered solid waste under State law; specific actions that can be taken to enforce soil regulations or report illegal dumping; and examples of municipal laws regulating soil.
This campaign underscores the importance for companies and EH&S professionals to effectively navigate and adhere to State and local ordinances, in addition to Federal environmental regulations.
All personnel are held responsible for proper waste management practices no matter where they are and where the material is going.
RCRA and DOT Training in Sparta, NJ
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Network with professionals from a wide range of industries who know the challenges you face. You will develop a step-by-step approach to identify and comply with the hazmat transportation and EPA hazardous waste, air, water, and chemical regulations that impact your facility.
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