Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Illegal Dumping by Borough Administration

Last week I visited our town's leaf dump and was appalled to discover the borough itself is illegally dumping here. For more than a year now I have been photo-documenting the illegal dumping problem. The organic matter of the leaf dump is ground into mulch for the residents. This is the sign posted on the only enterence to the leaf dump:

This is a wondeful thing my town does, however, if there is no control over the toxic materials being dumped there, this becomes environmentally devistating. As the residents apply this toxic material to their gardens, certainly it winds up on their dinner plates. Not only that, this dump site is uphill from the South Branch of the Raritan River, a stocked trout stream. Rain run-off from the dumpsite is further poluting the river as well as the fish that are deemed safe to eat by the state. Now, when we drove into the dump last Friday, this is what I saw:

Clearly, this is prohibited by the the borough's own ordinances. It is a sad day indeed when the borough does not care about the imact its collective actions have on the community. Not only that, the violator of this ordinance should be subject to fines, jail time and community service. Now upon discovering this I spoke with an emloyee of Public Works and he confirmed to me that they were ordered to empty the contents of the borough garage and deposit them in the dump. He referred me to the borough adminstrator, who I visited with four muddy kids in tow after leaving the dump. At first the borough did not seem to take my complaint seriously. I brought up that this huge sign was painted in 1962 and contained lead paint.

This is when the administrator promised to have the offending material removed from the dump site. I am certain that the borough does not have the appropriate permits to be dumping toxic materials there.

I will be checking back soon to see if this has been remedied. I am organizing a citizen's action group to police the leaf dump and promote public awareness of the illegal dumping here and other places in town. Please email me making_footprints@yahoo.com if you are a resident and you would like to be part of the citizen's action group to address illegal dumping. Just because it is what it is, doesn't mean we have to put up with it!

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