22.2.20

New Jersey man facing jail time for running a two-acre landfill in his front yard

A New Jersey man is appealing a court decision after being sentenced to serve three months in prison for operating an unlicensed landfill in his front yard that has grown to five stories high.

WPIX reported Wednesday that Joseph Wallace, who lives in rural Vernon Township, had been accepting trash deliveries from a variety of trucking companies for the past decade. Neighbors had told investigators that trucks would arrive seven days a week, day and night.

Wallace is reportedly appealing his conviction. However, that appeal could be stymied due to the fact that the state has frozen his assets, pending the landfill's cleanup.



Testing of the site by the Department of Environmental Protection has revealed numerous toxic compounds, including PCBs, pesticides and volatile organic compounds.

Neighbors have complained that water from Wallace's site runs off into their property when it rains, potentially polluting their groundwater.

Peg Distasi, one of Wallace's neighbors, told WPIX that trash deliveries were frequent to the property. "The stress level has been unbelievable. Sometimes 10 or 12 trucks were backed up waiting, one at a time, to dump and then leave. It went on all day like that."
According to the New Jersey Herald, Wallace was sentenced in October 2019 to 90 days in prison and fined $60,260. The judge suspended 60 days of that sentence, on the condition that Wallace immediately stop dumping on the property.

It had taken the township more than a year to get him in court to face charges, as the judge stated that Wallace had systematically ignored summons from as far back as April 2018.

The judge's decision also pointed out that Wallace had been previously convicted and fined for running illegal dumping sites in Warwick, New York.

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