By Michael Hill
The trucks roar by every minute hauling debris from construction sites. They bypass this city of Newark property at 4-11 Wilson Avenue in Ironbound and head for a privately owned dump down the road.
But on July 2, one truck stopped here and dropped off its load.
“The company was caught just by happenstance. Some individuals who were interested in purchasing some land from the city of Newark just happened to be traveling in the area and they noticed this person dumping soil,” said Assemblywoman L. Grace Spencer.
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection cited HJ Trucking of Bloomfield and its owner Hector Quinatoa and whacked him with $135,000 in fines.
“As I’m sure you know, the Christie administration takes disregard for environmental laws very seriously. So when I say we issue large fines and we’re out there on the beat everyday, believe me when I tell you, as a former federal prosecutor with an environmental background, I will not hesitate to take the necessary and immediate enforcement action,” said NJDEP Assistant Commissioner John Giordano.
The Christie administration says it’s issued more than $2 million in fines for companies illegally dumping and stockpiling in this area of Newark.
HJ Trucking’s business address is this three-story house in Bloomfield. No one answered the door and no one answered the owner’s phone.
DEP says HJ and its owner now go on a watch list.
“Once they’re caught, we stay on top of them and the message is very clear to these folks, believe me. They will get caught and when they are caught we will prosecute them to the full extent of the law,” said Giordano.
The DEP says it’s used surveillance at some sites to catch more than a dozen companies illegally dumping. It’s listing them and HJ Trucking and as unregistered waste haulers.
“And so for a company to skirt the law for what would be a fraction of the cost of complying with it is unfathomable,” Giordano said.
It’s more than obvious that more than one company has been dumping here and for quite some time. It just so happens, perhaps due to vigilance, one company got caught.
“That’s the message that people need to take away from this, if you dump on New Jersey. You will get caught, you will be fined and who knows you may end up in jail depending on what it is you’re dumping,” said Spencer.