NJ Has A Landfill Problem


The children attending schools in Roxbury, New Jersey can’t go outside because of the gaseous smells coming from the troubled Fenimore landfill located in Morris County.

The state Attorney General’s Office plans to sue the owners of a troubled Morris County landfill today over a stench producing cleanup effort at the site, where state officials are now hauling in new equipment in hopes of quelling the smell.

The two civil complaints that have been filed against Strategic Environmental Partners will accuse the company of several violations including fraud, misappropriation of more than $1 million in tipping fees, and violations of New Jersey’s Solid Waste Management and Air Pollution Control acts.  The DEP order allowing Fenimore to reopen in 2011 required the owners to place all revenue from tipping fees for certain materials into an escrow account, to be used exclusively for the proper capping of the landfill. That never happened, according to the sources, who said the state is seeking millions in civil penalties.

The dump hadn’t been used since 1979, though it was never fully closed. Strategic Environmental accepted construction debris as a way to cap the site, but it began emitting hydrogen sulfide that stunk up nearby neighborhoods and led to hundreds of complaints.

Sometime soon, the Christie administration will step in and add new equipment to the landfill in hopes of eliminating — or significantly reducing — the smell.  The equipment, a pollution treatment system known as an industrial “scrubber,” will be put in place as a temporary measure. A permanent scrubber built specifically for Fenimore will be added later.

Strategic Environmental is already suing the state and local officials in federal court, accusing them in a lawsuit filed in August of carrying out a “civil conspiracy” that deprived them of their rights to property, due process, free speech and equal protection under the law. A lawyer for the owners has said they made every effort to control the gases coming from the site.

Hopefully the kids are able to go back outside soon.


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