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Dec 2nd 2015 – $51,000 in fines lodged against Chester horse farm for manure dumping

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$51,000 in fines lodged against Chester horse farm for manure dumping
By PHIL GARBER Managing Editor | Posted: Wednesday, December 2, 2015 3:00 am and Geraldine Desiderio, principals in Desiderio Ltd.

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Posted: Wednesday, December 2, 2015 3:00 am

MOUNT OLIVE TWP. – The fines, like the manure, are piling up at a Chester horse farm that borders the Toys “R” Us property in Flanders.

The latest alleged failure to clean up manure will cost the Chester Riding Club and its owners, James C. and Emily Maillet, $51,000 in fines. That is in addition to a $33,000 fine assessed against the club in November 2014 by the N.J. Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

The latest fines brings the total against the Route 206 club to $84,000.

The DEP initially inspected the property at 60 Route 206 on Dec. 16, 2014, and May 28, 2014. It was determined that manure and wood chips to a depth of four feet allegedly had been illegally dumped within one acre of protected wetlands. A portion of the dumping was on the adjacent property of Toys “R” Us.

The riding club was fined $33,000 and was ordered to remove all of the manure and wood chips that was encroaching on the wetlands.

A follow-up inspection showed that the manure and wood chips had been excavated from Toys “R” Us property but stockpiles of manure, estimated at about 5,000 square feet and eight feet tall remained on the club’s property and within protected wetlands, the DEP report said.

For failing to remove the remaining manure and wood chips, the club was fined $51,000 or $17,000 a day for three days that the debris was observed by DEP inspectors. The club could have faced a maximum fine of $25,000 per day.

Restoration Plan

The club also was ordered to submit a restoration proposal to remove the remaining manure and wood chips. The plan must show that wetlands area will be seeded and that within three years, 85 percent of the wetlands will be covered with vegetation.

The club has 35 days to appeal the latest fines. It did not appeal the earlier, $33,000 in fines, according to the DEP order.

Managing of manure is a major part of any horse farm and there are clear state laws about how manure can be managed and disposed. Dumping it near wetlands is not permitted.

A Route 206, Chester horse farm, however, has been accused of dumping manure to a depth of four feet on two acres of wetlands owned by the adjacent property owner, Toys R Us, in Mount Olive.

State law requires that manure be disposed by spreading on the farm; removing it for off-farm use; or composting, in conformance with state regulations.

When not managed properly, horse manure can pollute groundwater or surface waters because of the organic matter content of the manure, according to a report from the DEP.

Nitrogen excreted from horses is quickly converted to ammonia, and contact with surface water can lead to excessive algae and damage to plant and animal life, a process known as eutrophication, the report said.

Nitrogen in the feces also can leach into the groundwater and become a human health concern. Phosphorus in the manure also can lead to contamination of surface waters where it may contribute to eutrophication.

Other pathogens and vermin such as Escherichia coli, Salmonella and Cryptosporidium parvum may be present in manure. Flies, rodents, dust, and odors may also be manure related concerns on horse farms, according to the report.

James Maillet said previously that the farm boards about 25 horses, creating up to 1,250 pounds of manure a day. He said it would cost him $2,500 a month just to remove the manure and that he had been having a difficult time of late with the business and his pending divorce.

Maillet of Montville, bought the 30-acre Chester Riding Club in 2009 for $3 million from Frank and Geraldine Desiderio, principals in Desiderio Ltd.

The property includes year round riding access with heated, indoor arenas, a five-acre grand prix field, an outdoor arena with all-weather footing, 20 private paddocks for grazing and exercise and 60 stalls.