VERNON TOWNSHIP, NJ (Sussex County) – U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5), local Vernon officials and community leaders Thursday inspected the site of the Vernon waste mountain to discuss clean-up efforts after Vernon dumper Joe Wallace was forced to stop dumping last summer and subsequently sentenced to prison this past fall.
“I want to thank Mayor Burrell, Council President Shortway, People Against Illegal Dumping, and the Vernon community who are continuing to stand up against the illegal dumping and the harm it can have on our environment, on our drinking water, and on our families,” said Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5). “Now we need to find ways to work together to clean up the site so this illegal toxic waste stops impacting the community.”
Gottheimer’s efforts in helping combat the illegal dumping taking place at the Vernon Waste Mountain include corresponding with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJ DEP) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to call for environmental testing, inspecting incoming trucks to ensure no dumping of hazardous materials, and analyzing runoff.
Gottheimer has also worked closely with local officials and community groups to sound the alarm on the illicit dumping taking place at the site. In February 2019, the NJ DEP finally confirmed that waste mountain’s runoff contained significant hazardous materials including severely elevated levels of lead.
Currently, due to the ongoing criminal case against Vernon dumper Wallace, his finances have been entrusted to a court-ordered receiver who will manage how his resources will go toward efforts to clean up his waste mountain, Gottheimer said.
Gottheimer was joined at the waste mountain Thursday by Assemblyman Parker Space (LD-24), Vernon Mayor Howard Burrell, Vernon Council President Harry Shortway, Vernon Business Administrator Chuck Voelker, and Martin O’Donnell and Andrew Pitzer of Vernon People Against Illegal Dumping (PAID).