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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 26, 2014

Contact:  Bob Considine (609) 984-1795
Lawrence Ragonese (609) 292-2994
                 Lawrence Hajna (609) 984-1795

DEP’S ILLEGAL DUMPING CRACKDOWN YIELDS 20 CHARGES, NEARLY
$480,000 IN ASSESSED AND PENDING FINES IN FIRST SIX MONTHS

FIRST CAUGHT-ON-CAMERA ILLEGAL DUMPING CHARGES FILED IN NEW
“DON’T WASTE OUR OPEN SPACE” INITIATIVE

(14/P105) TRENTON – Six months after the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) launched a crackdown on illegal dumping on state parks and recreational lands, the initiative has yielded enforcement actions against 20 people, nearly $30,000 in court-ordered fines and more than $450,000 in pending fines, Commissioner Bob Martin announced today.

Recent charges in DEP’s “Don’t Waste Our Open Space” crackdown include charges for the first illegal dumping event caught on hidden camera, at the Duck Island section of D&R Canal State Park, and for large illegal dumping events at Liberty State Park and Wharton State Forest, where Commissioner Martin updated the progress of the program during a park cleanup today.

“The initial results of this program should serve as continued warning for those who illegally dump in our state parks and on all of our recreational properties that their actions will not be tolerated,” Commissioner Martin said. “On the eve of National Public Lands Day, it’s important to reiterate that our natural areas are to be enjoyed by families and communities and not dumped on.”

“Looking ahead, we will continue to commit our resources to the “Don’t Waste Our Open Space” initiative, to prosecute offenders to the fullest extent of the law, and to better involve municipal and county authorities and officials in our endeavor. We hope our enforcement efforts and the awareness we raise with this program will deter those who consider illegally dumping their trash in the future.”

Launched on March 26, DEP’s “Don’t Waste Our Open Space” initiative is being conducted by the agency’s Solid Waste Compliance & Enforcement, State Park Police and Conservation Officers and Park Superintendents who responsible for overseeing the state’s Parks and Wildlife Management Areas.

All activities of this new effort are posted on www.stopdumping.nj.gov, a new website that serves as a hub for the entire program.

Recent enforcement actions conducted by State Park Police include:

  • John Serpico, 38, of Trenton, was charged with illegal dumping after being caught on surveillance camera disposing of household debris and brush at the Duck Island section of D&R Canal State Park. Serpico faces up to $15,000 in fines. The case was investigated by State Park Police Detective Timothy Kasony.
  • Rasean Gosa, 33, of Jersey City, was charged with illegal dumping after disposing of 50 bags of construction debris in a remote section of Liberty State Park in Jersey City. He faces up to $25,000 in fines. The case was investigated by Detective Kasony.
  • Kimberly Young, 54, of Egg Harbor City, was charged with illegal dumping after disposing large amounts of household debris at Wharton State Forest in Hammonton. She faces up to $25,000 in fines. The case was investigated by Detective Brian Calloway and Detective Kasony.
  • Christopher Small, 36, of Woodbine, was charged will illegal dumping and illegal transport of solid waste after multiple bags of household debris were found at Belleplain State Forest in Woodbine. He faces $25,000 in fines. An investigation of stolen property found at the site is also ongoing. The case is being investigated by Detectives Calloway and Kasony.

The “Don’t Waste Our Open Space’’ campaign incorporates strict enforcement of illegal dumping practices, while raising awareness of the problem through outreach and education.

Strategically deployed motion-sensor cameras have been set up in select state parks and wildlife management areas to help nab violators. Information on arrests and charges filed in connection with illegal dumping will be posted on www.stopdumping.nj.gov.

The DEP is being aggressive in its pursuit of civil and criminal complaints against violators. Penalties for illegal dumping in state parks and in fish and wildlife areas will include criminal fines of up to $5,000 per violation and civil penalties of up to $1,500 per violation.  In addition, the state also will seek much stiffer penalties for major violations through the Solid Waste Management Act, which authorizes the DEP and county health departments to initiate civil actions for illegal dumping violations.

DEP is also looking to involve municipal and county law enforcement in its efforts. Additional outreach has included detailed presentations of the illegal dumping program to environmental groups and an initial survey of 3,500 people to gauge awareness of illegal dumping in New Jersey. Interested constituents have also signed up for receive regular program updates via email.

“Increased enforcement is important component of this initiative,” said Terri Genardi, Acting Director of State Park Police. “Our officers have committed additional time to investigations and our enforcement actions should continue to serve as fair warning that these illegal dumping events will not be tolerated.”

“Over the next six months, we will continue progress in both raising awareness and enforcement,” said Artie Zanfini, project manager of ‘Don’t Waste Our Open Space’ program.
“The overall goal is improving our environment in our natural areas and to provide a better experience for those who enjoy our state lands.”

Illegal dumping, which includes everything from unlawful disposal of construction debris, electronic waste, automobile parts and tires and vegetative debris has been a growing problem in the state’s vast natural holdings in all 21 counties in recent years.

Nearly all of the state’s more than 200 publicly owned tracts, including state parks, state forests, wildlife management areas, marinas, and natural lands and preserves, have been impacted by illegal dumping. These lands account for 813,000 acres of state-preserved open space.

For a detailed list of all illegal dumping charges filed for the “Don’t Waste Our Open Space” program, visit: http://www.nj.gov/dep/stopdumping/docs/illegal-dumping-cases.pdf

For more information on state parks, forests and wildlife areas, visit: http://www.nj.gov/dep/parksandforests/ and http://www.nj.gov/dep/fgw/.

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