Two Jersey City recycling companies were hit with over 65 charges related to public safety hazards after a several months long investigation led by the prosecutor and the mayor’s quality of life task force.
” … It turns out that the operations there [at Pace Glass Recycling] are unlawful and the way that they’re storing their garbage and their operations are causing the dust and residue from the garbage to blow into the neighboring streets, effecting our residents quality of life,” Chief Municipal Prosecutor said in an interview with HCV this afternoon.
“Our police interviewed residents who said they’re having trouble breathing, they’re not able to open the windows to their home, and they cannot enjoy their backyards. So we have found over the last few months that our quality of life force works best when we put our heads together, so that’s way so many departments have responded to this investigation.”
Hudnut also noted that state Senator Sandra Cunningham (D-31) and Ward F Councilman Jermaine Robinson had brought a number of constituent complaints to the attention of local authorities.
In total, six municipal departments are assisting with the case against the owners and operators of Pace Glass Recycling and the Reliable Group, LLC: the zoning, health, fire, police and housing departments, as well as the Department of Public Works.
According to Hudnut, 40 sanitation charges have been filed for not storing waste properly, 15 zoning infractions for using the area improperly, 10 health charges that operate in a way that impact public health – as well as a declaration stating that the site is a public health emergency – and multiple file code violations.
Additionally, criminal charges have been filed for maintaining a public nuisance against the following four individuals: Reliable Group President Leonard Pirrello, Pace Glass Inc. CEO George Valiotis, Pace Group COO Michael Mahoney and Pace Glass Owner Vincent Pace.
Code violations carry a penalty of up to $2,000 a day, while criminal nuisance carries a maximum penalty of six months in jail, per offense.
When asked about how those fines will accrue, Hudnut said that the next hearing is scheduled for July 30th and is hoping that cooler heads will prevail and the company will take action to amend the violations between now and then.
“We have investigations going back to January showing that this problem has only grown, has not been mitigated and that’s what we’ll consider as the benchmark for financial punishment,” Hudnut explained.
“But look, first and foremost, we want these actors to get their site in shape: we want them to clean up. I want to make it safe for people in the area to be outside and that’s our number one priority. If they fail to meet that priority, that’s when we’re going to look at fines and punishment and jail time, if needed.”
The allegations focus on the storage of waste at 1 Caven Point Ave., where Pace Glass Recycling and Reliable Group operate.
The results of the investigation indicates that residual waste is being stored in piles as high as 40 feet, furthermore, several containers of waste are disintegrating, exposing nearby homes to hazardous debris.
Attorney for Pace Glass and the Reliable Group did not return emails seeking comment.