As part of the Murphy Administration’s ongoing work to address the needs of environmental justice communities and create cleaner, safer neighborhoods, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s Compliance and Enforcement program has launched a new initiative to empower municipalities to deter and combat illegal dumping in their communities.
The Illegal Dumping Program – Collaboration And Deterrence project trains municipalities on how to enforce regulations against illegal dumping and will loan 12 Q-Star Technology FlashCam deterrent camera systems to selected municipalities across the state to deter illegal dumping and enforce regulations and ordinances to keep communities clean.
Municipalities whose residents face a disproportionate amount of illegal dumping activity affecting their quality of life and those with full support from their Mayor’s office to combat illegal dumping will be prioritized for camera distribution.
The program is a direct result of community feedback from listening sessions hosted by the DEP in environmental justice communities.
“Illegal dumping has a profound effect on quality of life in our communities, from environmental and public health hazards to impacts on property values,” says Assistant Commissioner for Compliance and Enforcement Elizabeth Dragon. “Training municipalities to deter and enforce against dumping enables them to establish a critical first line of defense against illegal activity, protecting and improving the lives of their residents.”
The program has been launched with the New Jersey Attorney General’s Division of Law and Division of Criminal Justice.
The project takes place over 10 months and includes collaboration and training from the DEP’s Compliance and Enforcement Program and Community Collaborative Initiative, as well as the Office of the Attorney General’s Division of Criminal Justice and Division of Law.
Compliance and Enforcement is facilitating the project through providing cameras, bringing the partners together for a broad training session on implementing an illegal dumping program at the local level, as well as imparting strategies for deterring illegal dumping from previous successes. The Community Collaborative Initiative, which currently embeds DEP liaisons in 12 municipalities to support their vision for revitalization and growth, will provide community assistance and insight. The Office of Attorney General will offer guidance and training on how to carry out a local illegal dumping program with pathways for both civil and criminal enforcement.
“Partnership and teamwork are the hallmarks of this initiative,” says Dragon. “By building upon our previous successes, listening to our communities and acting collaboratively, the DEP can build stronger environmental compliance across New Jersey."
Development of the project grew from numerous listening sessions in environmental justice communities, where the DEP learned that illegal dumping is a common concern. Through this project, the DEP will continue listening to specific municipal concerns about active dump sites within their communities and their willingness to pursue development of a local program targeting illegal dumping.