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New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) new initiative to crack down on illegal dumping in state parks and natural lands has resulted in charges of a Seaside Heights man who has been court ordered to pay more than $21,000 in penalties.

The DEP’s “Don’t Waste Our Open Space” campaign was launched in late March. Since the launch, investigations of illegal dump sites on state properties by State Park Police, Division of Fish & Wildlife’s Conservation Officers and DEP’s Compliance & Enforcement personnel has resulted in 10 arrests or enforcement actions.

On April 26, Conservation Officer Sean McManus located eight garbage bags with siding shingles containing asbestos and other debris along Dover Road in the Greenwood Forest Wildlife Management Area in Lacey Township, Ocean County. An investigation of the contents in the garbage led McManus to Adam Wardell of Seaside Heights.

Wardell acknowledged dumping the garbage bags after being paid to remove them from a residence in Brick Township, according to Division of Fish & Wildlife Conservation Officers. Wardell was charged with illegally dumping solid waste in a State Wildlife Management Area. On June 17, under a plea agreement at Lacey Township Municipal Court, Wardell pled guilty and was ordered to pay $21,533 in penalties.

The “Don’t Waste Our Open Space” program is a coordinated effort of a host of DEP agencies, including Parks, Fish & Wildlife, Solid Waste, Water Resources, State Forestry Services and the Natural Lands Trust. All activities of this new effort are posted on www.stopdumping.nj.gov.

Strategically deployed motion-sensor cameras have been set up in select state parks and wildlife management areas to help nab violators.

Published in the August 2014 Edition of American Recycler News