DEP COMMISSIONER DECIDES $700,000 PENALTY AGAINST POLLUTER WILL STICK
(07/50) TRENTON - A shuttered solid-waste facility
with a history of running afoul of state environmental laws must
pay $700,000 for persistent violations its owner could have easily
corrected, Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner
Lisa P. Jackson announced today.
Upholding an administrative court
judge’s initial ruling, Commissioner Jackson decided Magic
Disposal Company Inc. should be held responsible for the full penalty
the DEP had imposed for chronic disregard of its permit to operate
a materials recovery facility on Ridge and Jefferson avenues in
Egg Harbor Township, Atlantic County.
“For at least two years,
this facility’s sloppy operation unnecessarily exposed the
community to the risk of a serious environmental event. Time and
again, Magic Disposal refused to obey environmental laws, mistakenly
believing its accountability to public health and safety might
somehow disappear,” Commissioner Jackson said.
2002 through December 2004, Magic Disposal repeatedly violated
its solid-waste permit by bringing in far more waste than allowed
and by storing and processing waste outside of its building. Tons
of waste routinely piled in front of Magic Disposal’s facility
and throughout its property attracted rats and other vermin and
created health and safety hazards. In addition, Magic Disposal
failed to clear its floors of waste every 24 hours, risking the
possibility of fires sparked by a residual buildup of heat within
certain waste materials.
Further, Magic Disposal degraded air quality
by failing to use its air-pollution-control equipment during operating
hours, and failed to maintain adequate wastewater control, which
caused polluted water to pond in the facility.
visits to the facility, inspectors with the DEP and the Atlantic
County Health Department issued citations for numerous environmental
violations. Magic Disposal’s owner and operator, Steve Waszen,
however, continued to resist inspectors’ efforts to bring
the facility into compliance.
In January 2005, the DEP revoked
Magic Disposal’s permit, and a month later issued the $700,000
penalty in an administrative order.
Magic Disposal appealed the DEP enforcement
action, and the case was heard before Administrative Law Judge
W. Todd Miller.
In rendering his initial decision recently, Judge
Miller noted that Magic Disposal could have easily rectified its
mounting environmental violations by controlling and limiting its
daily solid-waste intake, installing moveable barriers and confining
its operations to state-approved areas on site.
showed remarkable insight in this case by recognizing Magic Disposal’s
owner and operator as someone who ‘rejected important environmental
safeguards as unnecessary, excessive and unimportant,’” Commissioner
Under New Jersey’s Administrative Procedures
Act, the Commissioner is empowered to adopt, modify or reject the
administrative law judge’s initial decision.
this kind of conduct very seriously, because it endangers communities
and violates the law," said Attorney General Anne Milgram. "Permit
holders who persist in ignoring the terms of their permits do so
at their own peril. We are committed to working closely with the
Department of Environmental Protection to investigate and prosecute
violators of the state's environmental laws."