State’s “Don’t Waste Our Open Space”
Program Yields 34 More Arrests
New Mobile App Now Available To Report Illegal Dump Sites
(15/P67) TRENTON – Looking to build on the successes of the Department of Environmental Protection’s crackdown on illegal dumping on state recreational properties, three New Jersey cities have partnered with the state’s “Don’t Waste Our Open Space” program to combat unlawful dumping in their own communities, DEP Commissioner Bob Martin announced today.
In addition to these partnerships with Camden, Trenton and Secaucus, DEP’s “Don’t Waste Our Open Space” initiative has yielded another 34 arrests for illegal dumping in state parks and wildlife management areas this year, totaling 62 enforcement actions since the program was launched in April, 2014.
A new mobile application has also been launched as part of the program, allowing visitors of state recreational areas to report dumping sites and the contents of the trash found at these locations so DEP can address the debris and launch an investigation.
“We hope getting more people to become aware of illegal dumping and to take action will help act as a deterrent for those who think they get away with a crime that directly impacts the environment, wildlife and people who enjoy the outdoors,” Commissioner Martin said. “We want illegal dumpers to know that there will be consequences for their actions.”
The “Don’t Waste Our Open Space” program is a coordinated effort involving a host of DEP programs, including Parks, Fish & Wildlife, Solid Waste, Water Resources, State Forestry Services and the Natural Lands Trust. Investigations of illegal dump sites on state properties, including a few involving motion-sensor camera discoveries, are conducted by State Park Police, Division of Fish & Wildlife’s Conservation Officers and DEP’s Compliance & Enforcement.
All activities are posted on www.stopdumping.nj.gov, which serves as a hub for the program.
DEP has also introduced the “Don’t Waste Our Open Space” program to municipalities and several local and county law enforcement entities in an effort to bring more attention to the issue of illegal dumping. Earlier this year, the cities of Camden, Trenton and Secaucus launched their own illegal dumping initiatives, based on the methods and successes of the state program. With direction and assistance from DEP’s program, the municipalities are already seeing results.
“The city of Camden is very excited about strengthening our partnership with DEP to combat illegal dumping in our city,” Camden Mayor Dana Redd said. “Inclusion of Camden in DEP’s Illegal Dumping Program will fortify the ongoing efforts of Camden Metro Police, the city, and the Camden Collaborative Initiative partners to identify and prosecute dumpers who are illegally discarding wastes on our streets, residences, businesses and public spaces.”
“Forging this important partnership with the DEP will better enable our town to combat illegal dumping through both enforcement and education,” said Secaucus Mayor Michael Gonnelli. “The town of Secaucus looks forward to combining efforts with the DEP to protect our environment, natural resources and the beauty of our community.”
“A partnership with the DEP to combat illegal dumping in Trenton is a win-win relationship,” Trenton Mayor Eric Jackson added. “Not only does it strengthen our ability to keep our city clean, it exemplifies my administration’s commitment to transforming our city by executing a governance strategy formed by collaboration, communication, innovation and transparency.”
While partnering with the municipalities, the “Don’t Waste Our Open Space” program continues to heavily enforce illegal dumping on state lands. Last month, DEP’s Solid Waste Enforcement filed a Notice of Civil Administrative Penalty Assessment of $63,000 against Dennis Jenkins and Leardee Fortenberry, both of Franklin Township, for multiple violations of the Solid Waste Management Act found at a large dumpsite at D&R Canal State Park in Franklin.
“We will continue to seek maximum penalties for illegal dumping in our state parks and on our recreational properties,” Commissioner Martin said.
Some recent enforcement actions in the illegal dumping crackdown include:
• Jefferson Oliveira, 44, of Hammonton was charged with illegal dumping and transportation of solid waste after an investigation of a dump site in the Atsion section of Wharton State Forest led to a company owned by Oliveira called Solid Concrete Walls in Berlin. State Park Police Detective Brian Calloway, Officer Andrew Hambleton and Officer John Kline investigated.
• Mitchell Storozynsky, 50, of Pemberton was charged with illegal dumping after household debris was found at Brendan Byrne State Forest. Calloway and Hambleton investigated.
• Bill Howell, of Washington, DC, was charged with illegal dumping and dumping of solid waste after an investigation of a relative’s household debris at Kittatinny State Park. Detective Steven Franzone and Officer Andrew Cockerham investigated.
• Mark Sperbeck, 55, of Blackwood was charged with abandonment of a vessel and illegal disposal of solid waste after Calloway and Officer Sean Samson investigated a discarded boat near the Paradise Lakes campground in Wharton State Forest.
• Christopher Platt, 21, of Millville was charged with illegal transportation and dumping of solid waste after auto parts and household debris were found at Belleplain State Forest in Dennis. Detective Calloway and Officer Patrick Kelly investigated.
• Jodie Ballard, 64, of Princeton was charged with illegal dumping after his household trash was found dumped at the Millstone Aqueduct in Plainsboro. Officer Joseph Jackson investigated after receiving an anonymous tip. Plainsboro Police Department assisted. Ballard pled guilty and was fined $2,500.
• Kevin Mitchell, 53, and Diane Mitchell, 57, of Bridgeton, were charged with illegal dumping after household waste found at Stow Creek State Park. Calloway investigated.
• Joseph Protzo, 50, of Bushkill, Pa. was charged with illegal dumping after household and construction debris were found on Burnt Meadow Road in Ringwood State Park. Detective Franzone investigated.
• Matthew Judson, 51, of Hackettstown was charged with illegal dumping after an investigation of two piles of household debris found in Stephens State Park, off of Waterloo Valley Road. Franzone investigated.
• Marta Garay, 38, of Pemberton was charged with illegal transport and dumping of solid waste after household debris and several boxes of books were found at Double Trouble State Park in Lacey. Calloway and Officer Jeffrey Winter investigated.
• Lucas W. Anderson, 18, of Highland Lakes was charged with illegal dumping after construction debris was found in Hamburg Mountain Wildlife Management Area in Vernon. Anderson pled guilty in municipal court and paid a $1,000 fine. Lt. Steven Sutton from Division of Fish and Wildlife’s Bureau of Law Enforcement investigated.
• Joshua Ganter, 39, of Hackettstown was charged with a second offense of illegal dumping of tree clippings at Rockport Wildlife Management Area in Hackettstown. Ganter pled guilty to the charges and paid a $750 fine. Conservation Officer Jordan Holmes investigated.
• Thomas Ziniewicz, 43, of Newton was charged with illegal dumping after contents of a Recreational Vehicle were found at Paulinskill River Wildlife Management Area. Ziniewicz pled guilty in municipal court and paid a $506 fine.
• Christopher Both, 19, and Adam Klein, 19, both of Allentown, were charged with illegal dumping after depositing 38 paint cans at Assunpink Wildlife Management Area. Both pled guilty and each paid a $625 fine. Conservation Officer Shannon Martiak investigated.
• Lamar Langston, 32, of Cape May was charged with illegal dumping after 10 garbage bags of household debris were found at Cape Island Wildlife Management Area. Conservation Officer Craig James investigated.
• William E. Wright, 21, of Petersburg is charged with illegal dumping after three large construction debris piles were found in two locations of Peaslee Wildlife Management Area in Cumberland County. Officer James investigated.
A new mobile application, which can be accessed on smart phones at https://njwebmap.state.nj.us/DEPStopDumping allows park visitors who come across illegal dump sites to anonymously report its location, the size and type of the dump, as well as a picture of the debris. Once the site is reported, DEP investigators will work to find the responsible party.
For additional instructions on how to use the mobile application, visit: www.nj.gov/dep/stopdumping/instructions.htm
The “Don’t Waste Our Open Space’’ program 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.
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.
For more information on state parks, forests and wildlife areas, visit www.nj.gov/dep/parksandforests/and www.nj.gov/dep/fgw/.
DEP News Release