TRENTON, NJ – The Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) initiative to crack down on illegal dumping in state parks and recreational lands has yielded eight more enforcement actions, all for disposing of debris and other materials in state-owned natural areas.
The DEP’s “Don’t Waste Our Open Space” campaign was launched in late March. Investigations of illegal dump sites on state properties by Division of Fish & Wildlife’s Conservation Officers, State Park Police, and DEP’s Compliance & Enforcement personnel has resulted so far in 28 arrests or enforcement actions.
The program is a coordinated effort of a host of DEP agencies, including Parks, Fish & Wildlife, Solid Waste, Water Resources, State Forestry Services and the Natural Lands Trust. All activities of this new effort are posted on www.stopdumping.nj.gov, a website that serves as a hub for the entire program.
“The results of this program should continue to serve as warning for illegal dumpers that their actions will not be tolerated,” said Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin. “Through our investigations, we are showing that no site is too remote to be caught and those who have no regard for the environment, wildlife or people who enjoy the outdoors will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”
Recent enforcement actions for the illegal dumping initiative, all conducted by State Conservation Officers, include:
- Haroldo Recinos-Castillo, 39, of Penns Grove, was charged with illegal dumping in a Wildlife Management Area and illegal solid waste disposal, after a large debris pile – consisting of paint, insulation, concrete, windows, shingles, motor oil and household trash – was discovered this month at D.O.D. Wildlife Management Area in Oldmans Township, Salem County.
DEP’s Bureau of Emergency Response cleaned up the hazardous materials. In addition to charges, DEP is seeking restitution for cleanup of the site. Conservation Officers Wesley Kille and Jeremy Trembley investigated the case.
- Luis Pulla, 47, and Alex Gualotuna, 34, both of East Windsor, were charged with illegal dumping and illegal solid waste disposal after two large piles of construction debris were found at Assunpink Wildlife Management Area in Allentown, Monmouth County, in September.
Both pled guilty to illegal dumping and each were fined $1,500, plus $1,000 each in restitution for the cost of the cleanup. The case was investigated by Conservation Officer Shannon Martiak.
- Robert E. Davis, 41, of New Egypt, was charged with illegal dumping of construction and household debris that was found near the Lake Success section of Colliers Mills Wildlife Management Area in Jackson Township, Ocean County, last month. A court hearing for the charges is still pending.
- Brian K. Rosario, 18, of Egg Harbor Township, was charged with illegal dumping of solid waste, particularly a discovery of pressure treated lumber at Hammonton Creek Wildlife Management Area in Mullica Township, Atlantic County, in July. Rosario pled guilty and paid a $500 fine. The case was investigated by Conservation Officer Todd Vazquez.
- Lyndon Long, 48, of Millville, was charged with illegal dumping of construction debris at Makepeace Wildlife Management Area in Hamilton Township, Atlantic County, in July. Long pled guilty to the illegal dumping charges and paid a $400 fine. The case was investigated by Vazquez and Conservation Officer Joe Soell.
- Clarence Mays III, 29, of Hammonton, was charged with illegal dumping and dumping of solid waste also at Makepeace Wildlife Management Area in connection with construction debris that was discovered by Officer Vazquez in June. Mays pled guilty and paid a $250 fine.
- Christopher J. Daraklis, 18, of Absecon, was charged with illegal dumping of construction debris at Port Republic Wildlife Management Area in Atlantic County in September. Daraklis pled guilty and was fined $800. Conservation Officer Keith Fox investigated the case.
The “Don’t Waste Our Open Space’’ campaign incorporates strict enforcement of illegal dumping practices, while raising awareness of the problem through outreach and education.
Strategically deployed motion-sensor cameras have been set up in select state parks and wildlife management areas to help nab violators. Information on arrests and charges filed in connection with illegal dumping will be posted on www.stopdumping.nj.gov.
The DEP is being aggressive in its pursuit of civil and criminal complaints against violators. Penalties for illegal dumping in state parks and in fish and wildlife areas will include criminal fines of up to $5,000 per violation and civil penalties of up to $1,500 per violation. In addition, the state also will seek much stiffer penalties for major violations through the Solid Waste Management Act, which authorizes the DEP and county health departments to initiate civil actions for illegal dumping violations.
Illegal dumping, which includes everything from unlawful disposal of construction debris and old TVs and computers to the dumping of car parts and tires-- and even entire vehicles -- has been a growing problem in the state’s vast natural holdings in all 21 counties in recent years.
Nearly all of the state’s more than 170 publicly owned tracts, including state parks, state forests, wildlife management areas, marinas, and natural lands and preserves, have been impacted by illegal dumping. These lands account for 813,000 acres of state-preserved open space.