The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection has launched a new campaign to help communities manage fill material — the soil trucked in for developments under construction, landscape projects, or for use on private residential properties.

DEP spokeswoman Caryn Shinske said guardyourbackyard.nj.gov gives tips and information on how to regulate fill.

She said fill brought into communities must be regulated to make sure it's "clean and that it doesn't contain contaminants that certainly should not be on any residential property."

At the heart of the website is a model ordinance that municipal leaders can download and modify to suit their local needs, laying out regulations for their communities.

On the website, there is a detailed, easy-to-follow list of what is and is not considered solid waste under New Jersey state law.

Solid waste under state law includes: garbage, refuse, sludge, processed and unprocessed mixed construction and demolition debris including wood, metal, wallboard and plastic.

Solid waste that is not under New Jersey state law includes: rock, soil, gravel, concrete, glass, clay or ceramic products, recyclable materials and dredge material.

There is information on the website on how to report possible illegal dumping in a community, and there are examples of what other municipalities around the state are doing to regulate soil in their communities.

She called the website a "one-stop-shop" on how to protect a community by being aware of what kind of fill is being brought in to an area.

Under the model ordinance, a property owner who is having soil brought in must first obtain a permit. The property owner's supplier must be able to cite the source of the fill material. The model ordinance also makes provisions for fines or other penalties for any violations.

Shinske also said the ordinance complements existing state laws about fill. She said it lays out examples to some of its rules for landscaping, filling or fixing a septic installation, moving existing fill within a property and use of virgin quarry material.

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