Hazardous Chemicals Linked to Cancer Found at Illegal NJ Dump Site

Posted on 4/25/2019 by Lauren Scott

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) recently found dangerous levels of hazardous chemicals at an unlicensed solid-waste facility in Vernon, NJ.

The staggering seven-story dirt pile that had allegedly been operating as an illegal dump site for close to a decade has come under increased scrutiny from town officials, the DEP, and the public over the last several years. According to The Star Ledger, the NJ Attorney General recently authorized the DEP to test soil at the dump site for hazardous materials, and the results are concerning.

The DEP submitted the test results to the Attorney General on April 8, finding the soil to be contaminated with the pesticide chemical chlordane, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), all at levels exceeding the State standard.

About Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs)

Polychlorinated biphenyls are a group of organic chemicals that contain chlorine. Although these substances are no longer manufactured in the US, they can still be found in certain equipment, such as transformers.
Studies have found the substances to be probable human carcinogens, or cancer-causing chemicals. They can also cause birth defects when expecting mothers are exposed to PCBs.

PCBs are subject to 40 CFR 761 regulations as part of the Toxic Substances Control Act. This is because PCBs have been found to pose an "unreasonable risk to human health and the environment."
Be confident you know your responsibilities under the many EPA air, water, and chemical programs that impact your operations. Join us for the Complete Environmental Regulations Workshop in Anaheim, Houston, New Jersey, and Orlando in 2019! Workshops start July 10–11 in Anaheim.  

Protecting Workers from PCBs

Cleanup is a crucial yet delicate step towards protecting the public from PCB exposure. However, it is also important to minimize worker exposure to PCBs during site remediations. That is why OSHA has set a permissible exposure limit (PEL) of 1,000 µg/m3 for PCB mixtures 42% chlorinated and 500 µg/m3 for compounds 54% chlorinated.

To minimize an employee’s exposure, engineering may be necessary, such as keeping the employee away from the PCBs, as well as the use of personal protective equipment (PPE).

Illegal Dumping Forum Scheduled for May 16

An illegal dumping forum has been organized in response to the test results. Members of the public are welcome to attend to discuss the impact of illegal dumping in Sussex County and beyond.

The meeting is scheduled for Thursday, May 16 at 7 p.m. at The Appalachian Hotel in Vernon, NJ.

According to The NJ Herald, invitations have also gone out to Sussex County Freeholders, mayors, and governing-body members in all 24 county municipalities.

Environmental Training in Sparta, NJ

Join Lion Technology in Sparta, NJ for expert-led training to simplify environmental and hazardous materials compliance. Reserve your seat now and take part in interactive workshops now approved for continuing education credits for Licensed Site Remediation Professionals (LSRPs).

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.   
See the full schedule of workshops at

Tags: DEP, disposal, EPA, hazardous waste, local, New Jersey, NJ, Sussex County, Vernon

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