A notorious quality of life violator in the 6th Ward, Gaeta Recycling has been issued a violation notice by the Passaic County Health Department for exceeding the legally allowable noise limit.
Following an investigation two weeks ago by the department, the company was found to be in violation of a state law that bars companies from exceeding noises pressure level of 50 dBA, noise pressure measurement scale, from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m.
The company was caught emitting noises well above 65 dBA.
“A county investigator officially sent Gaeta a Notice of Violation,” said Keith Furlong, spokesperson for the county, last week. “In noise, the responsible party is given 30 business days upon receipt of the Notice of Violation to remediate the issue.”
The company’s large garbage trucks usually rave their engines during the early morning hours waking nearby residents on Genessee and Knickerbocker Avenues from sleep. “He didn’t get fined, he got a notice of complaint,” said Marc Grinkin, an area resident.
Grinkin and other residents of the area were hoping the company would be fined for being a repeat offender. In 2013, the company was caught breaking the sound pollution law by emitting as much as 70 dBA of noise. A county investigator issued a notice to the company, but did not levy any sort of monetary penalty.
When asked why the county did not fine the company in 2013, Furlong said the complainer, an area resident, did not sign the papers which would result in a fine. “The Statement of Complaint form was never executed by the complainant,” said Furlong. “The county is not authorized to pursue enforcement without a signed Statement of Complaint, specifically in noise, odor and dust violations.”
In order to rectify the noise pollution problem, the company apparently plans to hire a sound engineer to erect a wall that will prevent noises from escaping the company’s minimally taxed parking lot, where garbage trucks begin running as early as 4 a.m. most days.
That’s not going to improve anything, said Grinkin of the sound barrier the company plans to put in place.
6th Ward residents have been clamoring about the diminished quality of life in the area due to noise and air pollution as well as odor and flies attracted by rancid garbage. More than two dozen residents signed a petition beseeching the mayor and the city council to come to their aid, but the city’s reaction was a loud silence.
A copy of the petition was received by Andre Sayegh, 6th Ward councilman, who residents blame for much of the silence, for they say, the councilman is too close to Anthony Gaeta, the company’s owner, to effectuate any sort correction in the company’s behavior.
Grinkin points out the more than $4,000 Gaeta contributed to Sayegh’s political campaign which, he and other residents say, has been keeping the city off the company’s back. Sayegh said he did not ignore the petition. In fact, said the councilman, he held a meeting with the company’s owner in December 2013 to discuss the issues. During that meeting few ideas were brought forward, including an ordinance to reduce truck traffic on Genessee Avenue which is to be brought before the council this month.
However, the discussion seem to have done very little to address the havoc the company has been causing in the area; just recently, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection slapped the company with an air pollution violation. And now, it’s close to being cited for a noise pollution violation.
Gaeta, who did not respond to multiple calls seeking his comment, has 30 days to correct the noise pollution issue or face a fine.
“Typically, when the 30 days is up, the investigator will go back to the property to conduct a follow up investigation,” said Furlong. “If the readings still exceed the regulatory limits, a fine would likely be issued.”