CHRISTIE ADMINISTRATION TAKES ACTION TO FORCE REMOVAL OF
ILLEGAL MOUNTAIN OF CONSTRUCTION DEBRIS IN NEWARK
$2.9 MILLION IN FINES ISSUED AGAINST THEODORE FIORE AND HIS COMPANIES
(13/P106) TRENTON – The Christie Administration has taken decisive action to force the removal of an illegal mountain of construction and demolition debris in Newark that has accumulated next to the New Jersey Turnpike, Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bob Martin announced today.
The DEP this week issued two enforcement orders, known as Administrative Orders and Notices of Civil Penalty Assessments (AONOCAPA), totaling $2.9 million in penalties against Theodore Fiore and his companies, T. Fiore Recycling and T. Fiore Demolition Co.
The first issues $2.6 million in fines and orders the removal of the huge stockpile of debris. The second order fines Fiore and T. Fiore Recycling $320,000 for violating storm water control regulations related to runoff from the site.
The debris pile is more than 75 feet high and contains an estimated 175,000 to 200,000 cubic yards of materials. This is some 45 feet higher and five to six times the volume the facility is allowed to store under its existing construction debris recycling approval from the DEP.
“As we have made abundantly clear over the years in other parts of the state, we will not tolerate illegal and unsightly mountains of concrete, debris and dirt that negatively impact the environment and our communities,” Commissioner Martin said. “Through this illegal dumping, Mr. Fiore and his companies have blatantly disregarded our rules and regulations, maximizing profit at the expense of the environment. They will be held accountable for their actions and fix this problem.”
The DEP has revoked Fiore’s recycling approvals, and also dispatched inspectors to turn away any haulers that attempt to deposit more materials at the facility. Haulers are being informed that they are subject to DEP violation notices if they attempt to deposit materials at the facility. Haulers have been complying with the inspectors’ warnings.
In a related move, the DEP has requested Superior Court in Essex County to intervene to ensure the facility comes into compliance with environmental regulations.
The enforcement orders specifically allege that Theodore Fiore and his companies:
- Stored unprocessed concrete, concrete block, asphalt, asphalt millings, cinder block and brick in excess of the permitted maximum of 30,314 cubic yards and a 30-foot height limitation. The facility continued to amass these materials despite repeated inspections and violation notices;
- Failed to fulfill financial obligations to the DEP pertaining to $85,583 in outstanding fees and adjudicated penalties owed to the state;
- Did not properly cover a tire pile to prevent pools of water that breed mosquitos;
- Failed to secure a DEP authorization to discharge storm water associated with an industrial activity, and;
- Failed to secure a DEP authorization for an industrial activity which results in a disturbance of one or more acres of land. Such an authorization would have resulted in controls for storm water runoff.
- Constructed an access road and horse corral without seeking permit modifications;
The DEP estimates that Fiore has generated in excess of $1.2 million in economic benefit through the acceptance of debris above and beyond what is permitted.
Earlier this year, it appeared that Fiore was beginning to attempt to resolve issues at the site that have gone back a number of years. In 2009, Superior Court in Essex County issued a Judicial Consent Order mandating removal of materials and adherence to material acceptance limits in its permits. However, a September site inspection by the DEP showed that problems were continuing and that debris piles were getting larger.
These actions continue an aggressive response by the DEP to rid communities of similar illegal debris and dirt piles.
“We are keeping a watchful eye across New Jersey to make sure that those who choose to violate our environmental laws do not jeopardize the health and welfare of our communities,” said John Giordano, Assistant Commissioner for Compliance and Enforcement. “Those who think they can get away with doing so are on notice.”
Previous DEP enforcement actions on dirt and debris piles have included securing the removal of approximately 50,000 cubic yards of fill dirt that a company placed illegally by Brook Industrial Park LLC within the flood zone of the Raritan River in Bound Brook, Somerset County.
That material subsequently has been used in the redevelopment an $845 million construction project that is turning a former chemical plant in Woodbridge into a 700-megawatt power plant and nature preserve along the Raritan River.
The DEP, working closely with the Attorney General’s Office, also has taken strong actions to force the removal of 300,000 cubic yards of dirt stockpiled at the Top Soil Depot site, located in a floodplain in Wayne. As a result of these actions, a group of trucking firms that once used the site is working with the DEP to implement a plan for the proper disposal and/or reuse of the material.
For copies of the enforcement orders, visit: http://www.nj.gov/dep/docs/tfiore-aonocapa-20131120.pdf and http://www.nj.gov/dep/docs/tfiore-aonocapa-20131120-b.pdf