Watchdog agency warns N.J. that mob has hands on trash industry

A watchdog agency says the mob still has a hold on New Jersey’s commercial solid waste industry.

The State Commission of Investigation says there are too many loopholes in a New Jersey law enacted more than two decades ago to keep the industry clean. The system has never been properly funded or staffed, according to Lee Seglem, assistant director.

“Individuals who may be criminally tainted or involved with organized crime have managed to cross over from other states where regulations are more stringent, such as New York, and set up shop in New Jersey,” said Seglem, adding that they “profit heavily from both garbage hauling and recycling.”

The commission recommends strengthening the law with extra emphasis on preventing corruption in the recycling and disposal of contaminated soil and demolition debris.

“Everybody who has been around here for the last 20 or 25 years is familiar with the term midnight dumping,” Seglem said. “It’s been shown that nefarious interests who become involved in these industries are not terribly sensitive to the consequences of their activities.”

The commission also said the state needs to establish a better way to generate revenue to fund oversight so costs of increased vigilance won’t be passed on to taxpayers.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.