Coverage on the Environmental Crime:
The Monroe County Conservation District, the Monroe County Municipal Waste Management Authority, The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and the Attorney General’s Environmental Crime Section are investigating over 16 known cases in which contaminated soil has allegedly been illegally dumped in Monroe County. Residents obtained information online from Facebook marketplace accounts of receiving free “Clean Fill”. Residents were under the impression they were receiving clean fill dirt when in fact they received soil containing municipal waste, textiles, concrete, wood and other hazardous materials. Now residents may be left with hefty cleanup costs and having to remove the contaminated soil from their properties.
Monroe County District Manager Kristina Heaney says, “we want property owners to alert us to potentially unauthorized dumping of materials using the ‘if you see something, say something’ approach. The district will work to take these anonymous alerts and assist in determining whether these sites are authorized and within compliance of the regulations.”
Information has revealed that the contaminated material is being shipped from New York and New Jersey. We have reason to believe the trucking companies involved are the same companies that were investigated by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection last May 2019. Wherein, civil administrative penalties were assessed in the amount $712,500 for the violations seen in the attached DEP documents. Also attached is a news article highlighting the commonality of the 2019 crimes with today’s allegations.
James Lambert, Executive Director of the Monroe County Waste Management Authority, says, “it is imperative to educate the public on the dangers of accepting clean fill and residents should follow the recommendations of the Monroe County Conservation District. Now 16 known property owners have been victimized and are left with the costly responsibility for cleaning their properties after receiving what they thought was clean fill.”
We are urging the public to be extremely cautious where you obtain clean fill material. We recommend you pursue an independent environmental testing company before you accept any free material. In the case of purchasing material, consult a local, reputable landscaping company or retail location. “Free Clean Fill” may end up costing you a bundle in cleanup costs if it doesn’t meet the DEP’s environmental standards.
Captain Jackie Bagu of the Monroe County Waste Management Authority Police says, “I am sure many of the victims were drawn in by an ad offering low or no cost for the clean fill. However, the big red flag is when these alleged waste haulers are giving it away for free.” Captain Bagu continues, “they used victim’s properties as landfills to save on disposal costs. The alleged haulers saved hundreds of
thousands of dollars on disposal cost by disposing of it illegally. Now the homeowner may not only be putting their health at risk, but their finances may be at stake as well.”