Joseph Wallace, owner of the 75-foot dirt pile at 3 Silver Spruce Drive in Vernon Township has been found to be in contempt of a previous court order and is now ordered to be held in jail until he complies.
Wallace was fined $58,500 after dozens of municipal violations for the 75-foot-tall pile of dirt and debris.
“Joseph Wallace violated the law and has impacted people’s health in Vernon. What’s worse is that he didn’t listen to the court or clean up his mess. He belongs in jail until he complies, pays his fine, and restores his property. There is a nightmare created for people of Vernon over the last 8 years for illegal dumping, we must hold him accountable otherwise the court orders are meaningless. He is a tempting person and should be held in jail not just because he broke environmental laws and created a toxic nightmare for the people of Vernon, but he brought major damage to the environment. He cannot and should not get away with this,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club.
After several months of Attorney General Grewal fighting in court with Joseph Wallace who spent the last 8 years bringing in unknown material into Vernon, Wallace has refused to clean up his mess.
The state is asking Superior Court Judge Maritza Berdote-Byrne to compel Wallace’s compliance by taking new steps: Appointing a receiver to control all of Wallace’s assets until the matter is resolved, and imposing potentially hefty daily fines on the defendant.
“Joseph Wallace has been illegally dumping materials in Vernon for over 8 years, after dozens of violations and tens of thousands of dollars in fines, he still refuses to clean up his mess. Vernon is doing their job by making polluters accountable. Polluters need to clean up their mess and pay for it too. The state needs to use their authority to make sure that the hazardous materials like PCBs, are cleaned up, it’s too important for the health and safety of this community,” Titell said.