Monroe County officials are warning residents about accepting clean fill.

The warning comes after contaminated soil has been allegedly dumped illegally at over 16 properties.

We’re told residents thought they were receiving free clean fill dirt and instead received dirt full of hazardous materials.

The saying ‘if it seems to good to be true, it usually is’ applies here. The dirt may be free but it may end up costing you hundreds of thousands of dollars if it doesn’t meet environmental standards.

Executive Director James Lambert of the Monroe County Waste Management Authority says, “That’s our goal today is try to stop the infiltration of this so called ‘clean fill’ into Monroe County and Pennsylvania.”

State and local officials are investigating over 16 residences in Monroe County that received contaminated soil. We’re told Facebook Marketplace advertised free clean fill and it was trucked in to the properties that took the offer.

Captain Jackie Bagu of the Monroe County Waste Management Authority says, “Most property owners were just grading their properties, you know, preparing it for summer, spring. But we have anywhere from two to 200 loads of this material on properties.”

Residents soon discovered smells and objects of municipal waste within the dirt and contacted the Monroe County Conservation District last year. We’re told one resident even became ill from the material. Testing revealed hazardous contaminates were also present.

Bagu says, “Lead, Aldrin, Dieldrin, Cobolt, Vanadium.”

The Monroe County Waste Management Authority believes the trucking companies involved are the same ones that are facing civil administrative penalties in the amount of over 700 thousand dollars for New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection violations.

Bagu says, “Articles that you know have been published, this seems to be the same alleged illegal dumping that we’ve seen in New York and New Jersey.”

The investigation is ongoing and local authorities are working with the Attorney General to determine all levels of penalties.

Lambert says, “We’re hoping that we can rectify the problem for the homeowners and residents but we’re unsure of that right now.”

In the meantime, officials are looking to educate the public so that no other resident becomes a victim.

Lambert says, “If you don’t know the source of that fill, you should be contacting the conservation district. They’re the experts, they’ll help you.”

If you believe you received contaminated dirt, you’re asked to contact the Monroe County Conservation District or the Waste Authority. They will take a look at it and provide guidance.

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