Joseph Wallace, the owner of the solid waste dump site at 3 Silver Spruce Drive was found guilty on Friday of 52 of 84 charges of township zoning violations after a three-day trial in the Municipal Court of Long Hill.
According to Vernon Township Mayor Harry Shortway, Wallace has been fined $58,500 and $1,760 in court costs. He was sentenced to 90 days’ straight time in the Sussex County Jail, 60 days will be suspended he ceases all dumping activities.
"The only way to convince Mr. Wallace, and others, that this activity will not be tolerated is to issue a most disagreeable, but necessary penalty," Judge James D. Bride said in his decision.
Wallace appealed the verdict and did not have to report to jail on Wednesday.
The decision said Wallace must surrender his passports for safe keeping with the Vernon Township Court Administrator. She will keep them in her safe until ordered to return them.
“What Joe Wallace did in Vernon was a disgrace and he belongs in jail," New Jersey Sierra Club Director Jeff Tittel said in a statement. "Vernon has finally done it."
This has been a long battle but we continue to gain momentum in our efforts to protect the quality of life of the Silver Spruce and area residents, who have endured this travesty for years,” Shortway said in a statement. “Past administrations on all levels of governments and its bureaucracies failed to protect our residents and our environment.”
There is still work to do on the Silver Spruce Drive dump site as Shortway said it must still be remediated.
“The people of New Jersey must demand that such harmful activities by the Dirty Dumpers be stopped and criminal statutes be legislated and enforced.”
U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer, who Shortway has credited for his help in dealing with this matter, applauded the decision.
“It’s taken far too long, but thanks to the sheer determination of the Vernon community, Joseph Wallace is finally being brought to justice for exposing us to his reckless dirt dumping and cancerous contaminants," Gottheimer said in a statement. "Now, it’s time to clean up the Waste Mountain and take care of our children and families.”