Grant awarded to help test illegal dumping ground for contaminants

VERNON. The $100K grant will fund deep bore testing on Silver Spruce Drive.

Vernon /
| 11 Aug 2022 | 03:02

Vernon Township has been awarded a $100,000 grant from the New Jersey Dept. of Community affairs to hire a licensed remediation professional to conduct deep bore testing of the illegal landfill on Silver Spruce Drive.

The Township Council approved a resolution to accept the grant on August 8.

“These tests will enable us to learn what are the levels of potentially toxic substances that are in this landfill,” Mayor Howard Burrell said. “This is a step that’s necessary for us to understand the extent of the problem and to formulate a plan to remediate any levels of toxicity to acceptable residential levels.”

Residents had been complaining about the landfill since 2009, and it took a decade for action to be taken.

In 2019, a court order mandated that Joseph Wallace be forced to cease operating the alleged unpermitted solid waste management facility on his property and immediately banned any further dumping at the site.

It also compelled Wallace to give the NJ Department of Environmental Protection access to the property for inspections and sampling, and to test for contaminants and dispose of any solid waste.

The court also appointed a receiver — James S. Rothschild — to identify and use Wallace’s assets to hire and oversee the remediation of the contaminated property.

The decision also says the receiver will have the authority to contractually bind Wallace’s assets to any remediation plans.

Wallace was found guilty on 76 of 89 violations, including violating a stop-work order, dumping dirt without a permit and running a business in a residential zone without land-use board approval.

In 2020, Wallace was found to be in contempt of a previous order and was fined $58,500 for municipal violations. He was also required to pay for soil testing by a December 2020 decision.