With garbage piling up in communities throughout New Jersey as a result of illegal dumping, Assemblyman Bill Moen has introduced a bill to help curb this harmful practice. The legislation would increase penalties for violators and expand legal protections for more property owners impacted by illegal dumping.
Illegal dumping is when someone drops off household or industrial waste – such as construction debris, broken appliances, old furniture, or bags of garbage – onto land that is not specifically designated as a solid waste facility. Over the years, waste has been left in places such as State parks and forests, empty lots, railroad property and sidewalks.
Under the bill (A-5663), fines would be doubled for anyone who disposes of more than 0.148 cubic yards or 30 gallons of waste – or transports it to be disposed of – anywhere other than an official solid waste facility. Fines would range from at least $5,000 for a first offense to up to $20,000 for a third offense.
“Illegal dumping harms our communities by polluting the environment, soiling the beauty of our parks and neighborhoods, and posing physical hazards to local residents,” said Assemblyman Moen (D-Camden, Gloucester). “In Camden alone, taxpayers spend more than $4 million each year just to deal with the effects of illegal dumping. No one should have to pay the price for someone else’s selfish actions and no one should have to live, work or play alongside mounds of garbage. This legislation will help drive home the message that illegal dumping will not be tolerated in our state.”
Cities such as Camden and Newark are among the many locations where illegal dumping frequently take place. In Newark, seventeen different people were charged or issued a summons for illegal dumping between October and December 2020. The issue is so prevalent in Camden, that several art exhibits were recently placed around the city to help raise awareness about the harms of illegal dumping.
The legislation increases the maximum community service to which violators can be assigned from 90 to 180 hours. Further, a provision that previously allowed railroad property owners to sue for damages and costs incurred as a result of illegal dumping would now apply to all property owners. Violators would be liable for three times the damages and costs associated with their unlawful disposal.
The bill is endorsed by Camden County Police Chief Gabriel Rodriguez, former Camden Mayor Dana Redd, and the non-profit organization Cooper’s Ferry Partnership.