New Jersey DEP Takes Action on Sussex County Dump Site
Thousands of waste deliveries over almost a decade have resulted in a 75-foot pile of dirt, plastic, rebar, concrete, piping, asphalt, and other debris in Vernon Township, NJ. Township residents allege that this dumping operation resulted in water contamination to neighboring wells, with one well reportedly testing positive for arsenic. It is unclear if the dump site, reportedly located near a major source of drinking water, contributed to the contamination.
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According to NJ DEP, soil samples taken near the site show that at least some of the material meets New Jersey’s state criteria for solid waste. A permit is required to operate a solid waste facility in New Jersey.
On February 22, New Jersey Advance Media reported that NJ DEP officials are warning dump truck drivers that depositing fill material at the site in question “may be construed as contributing to an illegal solid waste activity.”
An amended Consent Order that grants some (but not all) of NJ DEP’s requests was filed in NJ Superior Court on March 1.
Waste Disposal and CERCLA LiabilityUnlawful disposal of contaminated or hazardous waste are not only a problem for the individual who broke the law, but also for the generator of the waste. Under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), the Federal government may hold the generator of the waste responsible as a potentially responsible party and seek remuneration for cleanup costs.
Be confident that your waste is ready for safe land disposal. The Land Disposal Restrictions Online Course covers generators’ responsibilities for ensuring proper treatment and disposal of hazardous waste.
The owner of the Vernon, NJ site previously pled guilty to illegally dumping wastes—including coal ash—in Warwick, NY and was sentenced to probation. The dump site owner was assessed a fine of $75,000 levied as part of a New Jersey municipal court conviction in May 2017.
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