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New Jersey Lawmaker Introduces Bill to Increase Penalties for Illegal Dumping

Recycling workers researching on the landfill

New Jersey lawmakers and environmental officials have been making aggressive moves to reduce pollution and severely penalize those who cause environmental contamination. We’ve discussed numerous enforcement actions undertaken by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) as well as revisions to storage tank site remediation rules and addressing contaminants of emerging concern. Some lawmakers are now looking to deter polluting conduct by punishing both industrial and individual polluters more severely. A bill was recently introduced to the New Jersey legislature that would crack down on the illegal dumping of private and industrial waste. Continue reading to learn about the bill and the aggressive approach to personal and industrial pollution, and call a seasoned underground storage tank (UST) remediation and removal professional if you need assistance with a damaged or contaminated UST.

Polluters Could Face Thousands of Dollars in Fines, Plus Thousands More in Additional Damages

New Jersey Assemblyman Bill Moen recently introduced a bill aimed at reducing the incidence of illegal waste dumping across the state. The proposal serves as a warning to individuals who illegally dispose of household waste as well as industrial companies that improperly dispose of any kind of waste products. Property owners or real estate developers who improperly dispose of USTs or their contents, for example, or other industrial waste could potentially face additional liability under the proposed law.

The penalties proposed by the bill are harsh even for first-time offenses. Under the terms of the proposed law, any party found responsible for dumping more than 30 gallons of liquids, or 0.148 cubic yards of solids, of household or industrial waste anywhere other than official waste facilities, would face a minimum of $5,000 for a first offense. The bill would punish a second offense with a $10,000 fine, and offenders who commit three or more violations would owe up to $20,000 per violation. Moreover, individuals found guilty of unlawful dumping could face up to 180 hours of community service (which might include trash pickup duty).

The bill would also allow property owners to sue polluters directly to compensate for any damages caused. Those found liable for illegal dumping would owe the owners of the property where they left their trash up to three times the cost of damages, cleanup, and other fees. Clearly, the damages are meant to be more than compensation for the property owners; the treble damages are punitive, meant to be a deterrent for future polluters. Currently, railroad owners have the right to sue for damages relating to illegal dumping, but the proposed bill would expand the right of action to all property owners.

Whether the bill will be passed and made into law remains to be seen. The Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee already voted unanimously to pass the bill along to the next legislative phase.

Call the Qualified and Thorough Remediation Pros at Lutz for Your Underground Storage Tank Issues

If you discover a UST at your construction worksite or if you have to respond to a UST spill on your property, you need experienced help from well-versed advisors with years of underground storage tank experience. For considered, tried-and-tested assistance dealing with a UST on your property, call Herbert Lutz & Company in Florida at 954-971-5222, or in New Jersey at 908-862-8888.

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