Clean Ocean Action

Tips for Reporting Eco-Emergencies: 5 Easy Steps

Responsible state and federal agencies cannot possibly watch every square mile of our coastal waters every minute of the day.  Your help is needed.  If you observe any unusual conditions such as large numbers of dead fish floating in a waterway, oil spills, or any waste being dumped, contact the appropriate agency immediately.


Please follow these 5 steps for gathering and reporting information accurately and quickly.  To view or dowload a copy of our "If You See It, Report It" brochure, click here.  For a list of emergency telephone numbers, see below.

STEP 1: Record the Information

  • Record Who, What, When and Where:
  • Vehicle description, license plate number and any other identifying numbers or markings. Number and description of persons involved. Location (visual, street address or GPS/Loran). Time of day. Type and amount of waste that was disposed. Photograph the scene (if possible).
  • Do not confront the suspect dumpers personally. Let the appropriate authorities respond.
  • Do not touch, taste or smell any containers that were disposed.  These containers could contain hazardous materials that could be harmful to your health.
  • Observe the material from a safe distance, preferably upwind and up-hill.

STEP 2: Report the Incident

  • Ask for and write down an incident report number from each involved agency before hanging up. With the report number, you can track the incident and follow up with each agency.

STEP 3: Follow Up

  • Ensure the disposed material is cleaned up.
  • Call state and local officials for updates on the clean-up.  If the party responsible for the disposal can't be located, it becomes the responsibility of the property owner to clean it.

STEP 4: Get More Involved

  • Encourage your municipal officials to be aggressive in pursuing and prosecuting environmental criminals.
  • Contact your legislators and encourage them to make enforcement of environmental laws a priority.
  • Write a personal letter. They really do make a difference.

STEP 5: Spread the Word

  • Contact COA with details of the report you filed and any additional updates.
  • Contact your area newspapers and other media.
  • Write letters to the Editor.
  • Inform others of your concerns.
  • Join a local environmental organization or your town’s environmental commission.

Eco-Emergency Telephone Numbers

Illegal Dumping:

  • Pinpoint location via LORAN, GPS, visuals or any other means.
  • Record violating vehicle or vessel identification numbers.
  • Radio the US Coast Guard.
  • Call USEPA, US Coast Guard, or Marine Police if you are on land.

Oil or Hazardous Waste Spills:

  • Call the National Response Center at 1-800-424-8802.
  • Pinpoint location.
  • Radio the US Coast Guard.
  • Call US Coast Guard, NJDEP, or or NYDEC for reporting beach or inland spills.
  • Call USEPA, NJDEP, and NYDEC for reporting hazardous materials.

N.J. Marine Police:

  • Atlantic City: 609-441-3586
  • Bivalve: 856-785-1330
  • Burlington: 609-387-1221
  • Carteret: 732-541-0491
  • Lake Hopatcong: 973-663-3400
  • Atlantic Highlands: 732-541-0491
  • North Wildwood: 609-522-0393
  • Ocean: 609-296-5807
  • Point Pleasant: 732-899-5050
  • Jersey City: 732-541-0491


  • 24-Hour Hotline: 1-877-WARN-DEP (or 1-877-927-6337) 

Monmouth County Health Department:

  • 24-Hour Hotline: 732-431-7456


  • 24-Hour ECO Hotline: 1-844-DEC-ECOS (or 1-844-332-3267)
  • 24-Hour Spill Hotline: 1-800-457-7362 (within NY State) or 518-457-7362 (outside NY State)

New York City DEP:

  • 24-Hour Hotline (within NY State): 311 or 212-639-9675 (outside NY State)

To Report Sick, Injured, Distressed, or Stranded Marine Mammals & Sea Turtles:

  • Marine Mammal Stranding Center (NJ): 609-266-0538
  • Atlantic Marine Conservation Society (NY): 631-369-9829
  • Sea Turtle Recovery (NJ): 609-667-4076

Other Organizations to Contact:

  • Clean Ocean Action: 732-872-0111
  • NY/NJ Baykeeper: 732-888-9870
  • U.S. EPA: 1-800-424-8802

U.S. Coast Guard:

  • Oil Spill: 1-800-424-8802
  • Sandy Hook: 732-872-5900
  • VHF Radio (emergency only): Ch. 16

49 Avenel Blvd.
Long Branch, NJ 07740

Field Office:

Gateway National Recreation Area
Sandy Hook, New Jersey

Voice: (732) 872-0111
FAX: (732) 872-8041

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