- New Jersey's State Commission of Investigation has alleged that local "dirt brokers" forged paperwork to illegally dump debris and soil. In one case 7,500 tons of contaminated demolition waste from the Bronx was taken to a Superstorm Sandy-affected area of Raritan Bay. Another case involves the dumping of toxic material at a facility in Palmyra, only permitted to handle yard waste — which then polluted nearby Pennsauken Creek.
- Frank Gillette of Jackson, who recently completed probation for passing bad checks, was questioned in relation to the Bronx case and invoked his Fifth Amendment rights five times. Bradley J. Sirkin, owner of the abandoned Palmyra recycling center, was also subpoenaed but didn't show up. He sent a letter from Florida also invoking his Fifth Amendment right. Officials alleged that both men have connections with organized crime.
- State officials say a lack of regulations at recycling centers made this possible. They plan to continue the investigation and eventually submit an official report with recommendations to the legislature.
Investigators say this all might been avoided through one simple step — background checks. While recycling centers have to be licensed in the state, their owners don't need background checks. The same goes for haulers and dirt brokers, which is different than requirements for doing business in the solid waste industry.
"As a witness in the industry told us, all you need is a fax and a phone line and you’re in business," testified Carol Palmer, an investigator for the commission, as reported by NorthJersey.com.
Each incident has had serious effects on the local communities involved. Homeowners at the Raritan Bay site originally needed the fill to help with erosion caused during Sandy. Now taxpayers are on the hook for a $250,000 bill to cap the site and comply with state environmental standards. Material from the Palmyra site was found to have high amounts of toxic chemicals and investigators estimated the clean-up could cost millions of dollars.