DAILY NEWS: New Jersey officials say McFarland, 59, took his Boston Whaler fishing boat into Townsends Inlet, near Avalon, on the night of Aug. 22 and dumped about 300 dental needles, along with 180 cotton swabs and other waste from the Wynnewood home that houses his practice. McFarland, who owns a vacation home on the water in the Avalon Manor section of Middle Township, Cape May County, has been charged with unlawful discharge of a pollutant and unlawful disposal of regulated medical waste. He could face at least $125,000 in fines and five years in jail.
McFarland’s medical waste first began washing up on Avalon’s beaches on Aug. 23, and beaches were forced to close five times throughout the next week. Hundreds of other pieces of medical waste have washed ashore in communities along the coast, but Milgram said they were not connected to McFarland. Milgram said heightened awareness, hurricanes, copycats, or even careless intravenous drug users could be responsible for other reports of debris.
McFarland was already on a short list of possible suspects, Milgram said, because authorities traced a small piece of debris to its supplier, which led them to focus on a few dental practices. Media coverage of the investigation, along with a $10,000 reward for information leading to the dumper’s arrest, may have prompted McFarland to turn himself into Avalon police Tuesday and admit the dumping, Milgram said. MORE