Illegal NJ Dump Operator Gets Jail Time and $60K Fine

Posted on 10/11/2019 by Lauren Scott

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

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.   
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Tags: department environmental protection, DEP, enforcement, local, fine, penalty, jail, prison, dumping,, fill material, hazardous, hazardous waste, NJ, RCRA, Sussex County, Vernon, waste

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