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Who Regulates Garbage Companies in NJ?

Perhaps you recently rented a roll off dumpster and there was a problem. Perhaps something happened that you feel needs to be brought to the attention of the agency in charge of regulating garbage companies. Well, there is good news in New Jersey. In our state, garbage companies are licensed utilities just like your electric company, your gas company and your phone company. There are several agencies that oversee our operations and each agency is responsible for very specific enforcement duties.
If you were to have a dispute over a billing issue, the Board of Public Utilities regulates the tariffs (prices) of the individual companies. In fact, garbage companies are required to submit their pricing to the BPU each and every year. The BPU issues a Solid Waste License to each and every garbage company and we are identified by that license number. If you have a complaint, you can call the BPU, report the problem using this license number and they can investigate whether or not your garbage company is operating within their permissible tariffs.

If you had a problem with a truck safety issue, the New Jersey State Police Commercial Vehicle Inspection Unit would be the proper enforcement agency for this type of complaint. In fact, the NJSP CVI Unit is very active in ensuring the trucks on the roads of New Jersey are safe and following all motor vehicle carrier laws. If you had a problem with any type of illegal dumping, the NJDEP would be the agency responsible for this type of enforcement. In fact, the NJDEP is the primary enforcement agency for garbage companies in New Jersey. Any type of complaint can be fielded by calling the NJDEP Environmental Hotline 24 hours a day. If the problem isn’t specific to the DEP, they will transfer your call to the appropriate agency.

Of course, when dealing with any type of problem the first approach should be to try and resolve the issue with the company itself. Most companies are reputable and want to make sure they are in compliance with the laws governing their operation. Our licenses are very important to us and we wouldn’t want to jeopardize that license over something that could probably be resolved amongst the parties involved. Hopefully, the company can resolve your issue without any further actions.

Sometimes, however the issue can’t be resolved without intervention. Here is an example that happened to us recently. We received a call demanding that a dumpster be removed “immediately” from a residence. He insisted that it be removed immediately (Mother’s Day actually) because the debris in the container shouldn’t be around children. Ok, I’m listening until I hear him tell me that it isn’t his dumpster. He lives next door to the house with the dumpster. Now at this point I understand and appreciate his concerns for his children, but his neighbor has a right to have a dumpster and upon inspection of the dumpster, there was nothing illegal or hazardous to anyone in the area including children.

Upon me explaining that his neighbor was within his rights to have a container and that no laws were being violated, this person vowed to have me charged with environmental crimes. I politely gave him several numbers including the NJDEP, EPA, his local police agency and the contractor on the job. Several hours later, I received a call from the NJDEP regarding the container. After hearing the whole story, the DEP closed the case immediately (the police had also been there and “investigated” the container and discussed it with the DEP). In this case, the offending party was NOT the garbage company, but the neighbor couldn’t understand why I refused to honor his “request” and additional agencies were needed to resolve the issue.

Unfortunately for this gentleman, he did not get the response he wanted, but he at least had the ability to voice his concerns and rest assured if we had been doing something incorrectly, we would have been given a violation notice from the DEP and been ordered to correct the deficiency immediately.

Again, I hope your dumpster rental never needs to be this complicated, but if it is you should know you have rights and there are agencies here in NJ working hard to ensure the laws are being followed. If you do need help, I hope this post makes reporting your problem easier.

Be safe, be well and most of all BE HAPPY!

Dale Olander
D&D Disposal
(732) 341-6900