Jersey man pleads guilty to illegal dumping in Warwick

| 28 Sep 2017 | 06:31

— A Sussex, N.J., man has pleaded guilty to six counts of Unlawful Disposal of Solid Waste, a class A misdemeanor, for his role in causing more than 20,000 cubic yards of non-exempt construction and demolition debris to be illegally dumped at six different sites in the Town of Warwick between January 2015 and May 2016.
It is estimated that more than 1,000 truck-loads of construction and demolition debris were illegally dumped at those sites, according to a press release from Orange County District Attorney David M. Hoovler.
Cubic yards of solid wasteAt the time that Joseph Wallace, 50, pleaded guilty before Warwick Town Justice Nancy D’Angelo, in the Town of Warwick Justice Court, he admitted that at each site, he knowingly caused the release of more than 70 cubic yards of solid waste into the environment.
According to Hoovler's office, the illegal dumping occurred after Wallace had contacted the property owners at five of the sites and received permission to bring in clean fill.
Wallace then contacted haulers that brought in the solid waste.
At the sixth and largest site, Wallace sought to enter into a lease agreement to use the property for a mulch business, and then arranged for the illegal dumping.
Many of the locations were farms in the Black Dirt region of Warwick.
What was dumpedIn addition to containing non-exempt fill that included wood, plastics, pieces of carpeting, wiring, and other debris, coal ash was also present in the construction and demolition debris.
Coal ash that was present contained a number of other contaminants including lead, mercury, and other metals.
Sentencing options, clean-up costsUnder the terms of the plea agreement, Wallace will be sentenced to three years of probation if he establishes a New York residence prior to sentencing.
If he fails to satisfy that condition, he will receive concurrent sentences of 45 days in the Orange County Jail.
The matter was adjourned until Nov. 28 for sentencing.
District Attorney Hoovler thanked the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Police for their investigation and the arrest of Wallace.
The guilty pleas pave the way for the New York State Department of Environmental Protection to force Wallace to pay for the clean-up of the contaminated sites.
“Those of us who reside in Orange County are privileged to live in an area of unusual natural beauty, and we have a duty to preserve that environment for our children,” Hoovler. “Those who cause long-lasting damage to the environment by illegally bringing in waste from other counties, and dumping it here, must be prosecuted and made to clean up the sites that they have contaminated.”