The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection has filed suit against an “illegal solid waste facility,” seeking remediation and fine for improper storage of crushed glass material.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“For far too long, our fellow residents in low-income and minority communities have carried a disproportionate burden of the pollution that we all together create,” DEP Commissioner Shawn LaTourette said in a statement.
“With Governor Murphy’s leadership, New Jersey is turning the tide and implementing the strongest environmental justice law in the country. Still, we must reckon with the pollution of the past and, through actions like those we take today, hold accountable those who have harmed already overburden communities.”
In a 47-page complaint filed against Pace Glass, Inc., the state alleges that they operates an illegal solid waste facility in Jersey City by storing large piles of crushed glass on two different properties at 1 Caven Point Ave. and 88-94 Bishop St., respectively.
According to the complaint, the Caven Point site alone contains a 40-foot-high stockpile of approximately 300,000 cubic yards of crushed glass material, which is mixed with plastic, paper, food debris and other solid waste.
In July 2019, Jersey City officials issued 65 fines to Pace and Reliable Paper Recycling, Inc. related to creating public safety hazards.
The following year, the DEP took administrative action against Pace and Reliable, the owner of the Caven Point Avenue Property, for the illegal storage of crushed glass material, but the piles of glass material remain on the properties.
Today’s complaint alleges that Pace’s stockpiles of crushed glass mixed with other solid waste are causing contaminated stormwater run-off, which in turn jeopardizes the environment and public health.
The stockpiled glass is also a source of dust and odors that impact the quality of life of nearby residents, and multiple fires occurred at the site in May.
The court order directing Pace and other defendants to remove the piles of crushed glass, remediate contamination at the sites, and to pay DEP penalties under the SWMA and WPCA.
Other defendants in the case include Efstathios Valiotos (owner of Pace), Reliable Paper Recycling, Inc., Bishop-Johnston, LLC (owner of the Bishop Street property) and Caven Point Road Associates (owner of the Caven Point Avenue property).
The New Jersey Attorney General’s Office announced seven court filings statewide today, with complaints filed against businesses in locations including Camden, Irvington, Jersey City, Newark, and Somerville.
Each of these communities is considered “overburdened” under New Jersey’s Environmental Justice Law because it has a significant low-income, minority, and/or limited English proficiency population.
“Pollution affects all of us, but it doesn’t affect us equally. Lower-income neighborhoods have been disproportionately exposed to environmental harms,” noted Acting Attorney General Andrew Bruck.
“And far too often, the communities most affected by these harms have been communities of color. That legacy of environmental injustice is why, here in New Jersey, the Murphy Administration is prioritizing environmental cleanups in these overburdened neighborhoods.”