Highland Lakes

Country Club and Community Association

Planning to buy fill? Caution is Urged.

Vernon Township has been engaged in a legal battle over the dumping of fill in various Vernon locations including residential areas. The latest development was the imposition of a $75,000 fine to Joseph Wallace of Silver Spruce Lane in Vernon for violations of a stop work order issued by the Sussex County Soil Conservation District and illegal soil disturbance. The New Jersey Herald provided extensive coverage of both the trial and verdict. While it has also been alleged that the fill being transported by Mr. Wallace is contaminated, the NJDEP has not made that determination and the fill operation by Mr. Wallace appears to be continuing despite the conviction and fine.

As a caution, clean fill is available with certifications from various local quarries. Always make sure that the supplier of your fill is insured because if the soils are determined at a later date to be contaminated you as the property owner will be responsible under New Jersey’s  soil remediation requirements. If you choose not to use a reputable local contractor to purchase fill from, you should discuss with the contractor the exact location from which the fill has been obtained, confirm with the appropriate local government that the removal and transport of the fill is authorized, and if the site is in New Jersey determine whether the site is subject to NJDEP’s Remediation Standards (N.J.A.C. 7:26D) by following this NJDEP link. Remember, if you purchase soil that is later determined to be contaminated, you will be responsible for all soil remediation expenses. Exceptional caution is urged if the material is being transported from a site outside of New Jersey.

Jack McLaughlin, General Manager

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