Crooked recyclers could be dumping contaminated dirt near you
A state watchdog group is out with a new report that finds persistent dumping of tainted dirt and debris, sometimes contaminated with cancer-causing material, continues to be a problem in New Jersey.
The State Commission of Investigation's report concludes that "elements of New Jersey’s commercial recycling industry remain open to abuse and manipulation by unscrupulous operators who exploit gaps in regulatory oversight to profit from improper disposal of contaminated material."
Kathy Riley, a spokeswoman for the SCI, said that an earlier report issued in 2017 found contaminated soil and other debris was being illegally dumped near waterways, homes and other environmentally sensitive areas. The problem persists because there is no oversight of what is called Class B Recycling.
Class B Recycling involves the transport of soil, dirt and other materials considered to be clean fill that is used in construction work or projects to repair erosion. But unscrupulous dirt brokers posing as legitimate recyclers are in fact transporting and dumping tainted, hazardous soil and dirt instead.
“There’s no regulation of them so it’s sort of a Wild West of whether it’s actually clean or not," she said.
Riley said based on the "Dirty Dirt" report from two years ago, legislation was introduced “that would address some of the statutory and regulatory shortcomings, but that legislation is still waiting enactment.”
She pointed out this legislation would enact background checks and licensing for these businesses.
In the meantime, the SCI has determined this illegal type of dumping is continuing.
In Monmouth County, SCI investigators found New Jersey-based dirt broker Michael D’Angelo, who was previously identified as having dumped tons of tainted soil and debris on a property being developed in Old Bridge, was now improperly disposing of substantial amounts of contaminated soil at a horse farm in Marlboro.
In addition to recommending legislation that would require background checks and licenses for dirt brokers, the SCI is also calling for the establishment of a chain‐of‐custody requirement for laboratory test results to ensure that Class B materials are properly examined and determined safe for disposal at appropriate facilities.
The State Commission of Investigation is an independent New Jersey watchdog agency established in 1968 to investigate organized crime and corruption, waste of tax money and other abuses of the public trust.
You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com