VERNON, NJ (Sussex County) – Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) wrote to the EPA on Monday, asking them to conduct environmental testing on the waste pile in Vernon.
Gottheimer’s letter said, a property owner on Silver Spruce Drive has engaged for several years in dumping of what residents believe solid waste. All the while he has done so on violation of a stop-work order by the Sussex County Soil Conservation District. Despite being fined $75,000 in municipal court earlier this year for causing what Vernon Municipal Judge James Devine deemed an “environmental disaster,: the property owner has continued to violate the stop-work order as he appeals the fine. According to local law enforcement in Vernon Township, there is evidence that the owner has been transporting potentially contaminated materials in trucks from across state lines, including materials potentially excavated at gas stations.
Gottheimer traveled with Vernon Mayor Harry Shortway, Jr. to assess the waste pile first-hand, concluding that “this is the definition of solid waste,” with a particular concern for the potential of carcinogens often found in such demolition debris.
“Dumping potentially contaminated waste next to Vernon’s lakes is a threat to community. The EPA needs to step in to help our local officials combat this before anything leaches into our water supply or causes lasting environmental damage. Specifically, we need discrete environmental testing, which I believe is necessary to assess any chemical compounds or hazmat-level contamination,” Gottheimer said.
“The property owner here has a well-known history. He’s been convicted of dumping waste across state lines, and has been issued a stop-work order. I am very concerned for the safety and health of the residents of Vernon,” Gottheimer said.
For more Northwest Jersey’s News, tune into 92.7FM, 104.7FM, 1510AM, wrnj.com or on the TuneIn app.