A.G. Schneiderman Brings Criminal Charges Against "Dirtman" For Operating Two Large Illegal Landfills In NYC Watershed Area And Polluting State's Drinking Water

Investigation Reveals Dirtman’s Actions Pollute Croton Falls Reservoir, Part Of The NYC Watershed, Which Provides Approximately 1.2 Billion Gallons Of Unfiltered Drinking Water To Approximately 9 Million New Yorkers Every Day

Polluter Made Over $300K In Profits For Operating Illegal Landfills

WHITE PLAINS – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, joined by New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens, announced today that a grand jury has indicted Anthony Adinolfi (aka “Dirtman”) for the operation of two large unpermitted construction and demolition debris landfills within the New York City Watershed, which provides approximately 1.2 billion gallons of drinking water to nearly one-half the population of New York State every day. From approximately January 2010 through October 2011, these illegal landfills, located at 737 Croton Falls Road and 618 Barrett Hill Road, both in Putnam County, had been accepting construction and demolition debris containing waste such as tile, plastic, coal, and coal ash, in violation of numerous environmental statutes. Some of these materials eroded and were discharged into nearby New York State waters, including the Croton Falls Reservoir, which is part of the water supply that provides drinking water to New York residents. 

“Polluting our state’s watershed by dumping dangerous waste into illegal landfills is deplorable, and this individual will be held accountable for committing these serious crimes,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “Our office will continue to prosecute environmental criminals who put the health and safety of New Yorkers at risk to make a profit. There is no excuse for this kind of misconduct.”

State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens said, “DEC will vigorously pursue those individuals who disregard state environmental laws for personal gain. Illegal dumping affects not only the area where the material is dumped but also harms nearby waterways. The New York City watershed supplies drinking water to millions of New Yorkers. DEC will not tolerate illegal disposal of hazardous materials in this or in any of the state’s watersheds.”

Environmental Conservation Law Article 27 and the underlying regulations provide that no person may construct or operate a solid waste management facility without first obtaining a permit from DEC. Solid waste management facilities are also subject to strict operational and closure requirements to avoid the adverse impacts to public health and the environment associated with solid waste.

According to the felony complaint filed November 29, 2011 in Carmel Town Court, Adinolfi, the defendant, agreed with private owners of the two watershed properties that he would arrange for fill to be dumped on their property in order to fill in and grade steeply-sloped areas. Through 2010 and 2011, the complaint charges that the defendant arranged for hundreds of truck-loads of fill to be dumped on these two properties – sometimes as much as 10-15 truck loads per day. 

Waste composition analysis of multiple samples taken from the debris dumped at these two properties showed that the samples contained coal ash and slag. Coal ash and slag typically contain hazardous substances and carcinogens.

Although New York State environmental laws and regulations prohibit charging fees for dumping this type of debris, Adinolfi charged truck drivers $75 per truck load for dumping privileges. Bank records show that between 2010 and 2011, Adinolfi, through his company Dirtman Enterprises Inc., earned over $300,000 from operating these unpermitted landfills.

The grand jury charged Adinolfi with several felony counts for violations of the New York State Environmental Conservation Law (“ECL”), including ECL § 71-2703(2)(for operating an unpermitted solid waste management facility, a class “E” Felony) and ECL § 71-1933(4)(a)(ii) (for causing stormwater discharges without a permit, a class “E” Felony). If convicted, Adinolfi could face up to 1 1/3 to 4 years in prison and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines.

Adinolfi is also the defendant in a civil lawsuit filed in Supreme Court, Putnam County, by the State in October 2010 concerning his illegal operation of a landfill at 737 Croton Falls Road. The State has already obtained a preliminary injunction against Adinolfi and others prohibiting them from unlawfully polluting the City of New York’s Croton Falls Reservoir, adjacent to the site. The lawsuit also seeks to require Adinolfi and others to remove the construction and demolition debris and other wastes disposed there, remediate the site, and pay civil penalties.

The criminal case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Jason P. Garelick of the Environmental Crimes Unit, under the supervision of Executive Deputy Attorney General for Criminal Justice Nancy Hoppock, Bureau Chief Gail Heatherly, and Deputy Bureau Chief Stephanie Swenton.

The investigation was conducted by Environmental Conservation Officer Keith Manners and Investigator Kevin Gilmartin of DEC, Division of Law Enforcement, Bureau of Environmental Crimes Investigation, under the supervision of Lt. John Fitzpatrick and Captain Rick Martin.

The Attorney General recognizes the diligent work of the DEC and OAG staff with whose cooperation the case developed, particularly Steven Parisio, DEC, Regional Solid Waste Geologist, and John Serrapica, OAG, Supervising Investigator and Forensic Accountant. 

The charges are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.