New Jersey recyclers accused of illegally dumping debris and soil

New Jersey recyclers accused of illegally dumping debris and soil

Soil contamination reportedly found at two unapproved dumping sites.

May 31, 2016

Recyclers have been accused of illegally dumping construction debris and contaminated soil in South Jersey, Middlesex County and throughout the state of New Jersey, a report from the Courier-Post says. According to a court testimony by State Commission of Investigation (SCI) agents, two sites where the dumping allegedly took places are along Pennsauken Creek and Route 73 in Palmyra, and at Cliffwood Beach in Old Bridge, along Raritan Bay.

According to authorities, dumping is arranged by dirt brokers who locate debris and find unapproved dumping sites. Usually, those who are accused of illegal dumping have ties to organized crime in Philadelphia and New York, the report says.
 
"It should surprise no one that the architects of this toxic trafficking include organized crime associates and criminals," SCI Acting Executive Director Lee Seglem said in the report.
 
According to the report, former Jersey Recycling Services (JRS) owner Bradly Sirkin was called to testify at the hearing in regards to the Palmyra site, but he did not appear. The SCI agents said in the report that JRS had no recycling permit and only a Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) exemption to handle small amounts of yard waste. Testing found that the dirt at the sire was contaminated and had been polluting a nearby creek.
 
The SCI has not concluded its investigation, but Seglem told the Courier-Post the commission will issue a final report that will include recommendations for regulatory and statutory reforms to require background checks for recyclers, dirt brokers and haulers.
 
Recycling centers must be licensed in New Jersey, but there is no requirement of background checks for owners and no licensing requirements or background checks for haulers and dirt brokers.
 
In Old Bridge along Raritan Bay, homeowners contracted with a dirt broker because Superstorm Sandy erosion threatened their homes, according to the report, but investigators said instead of bringing in clean fill, he brought in both construction debris and contaminated soil.
 
Another SCI agent testified the equivalent of 350 truckloads of illegal debris was dumped on the beach area at no cost to the homeowners, who tried to stop it when they realized what the fill was but could not, the report says.
 
That dirt broker, identified as Guido, had been convicted in federal court in connection with interstate theft, was wanted on municipal warrants and was apprehended as a result of the SCI investigation.
 
Former Old Bridge administrator Christopher Marion said taxpayers there are footing a bill of more than $250,00 for capping of the debris, well monitoring for 30 years and engineering costs all required by DEP for site remediation.