2018 Update – NJDEP Site Remediation Program Rule Changes
The NJDEP Site Remediation Regulatory Program (NJDEP SRRP) is likely to see some changes to its rules and regulations in 2018. It has been almost 10 years since it was first enacted, and it clearly needs some fine-tuning. Some issues that are likely to be addressed include:
Remedial Action Permits
It is possible that improvements will be made to the process for obtaining remedial action permits. This would require the NJDEP to clarify it is only using this process to remove a post-remedy maintenance and monitoring program and not as an alternative to a remedy review.
It’s also possible the requirement will be eliminated for an owner who has purchased a property following a discharge and then puts a remediation in place to stay a permittee indefinitely. This permittee status will remain until he or she sells the property.
A third possibility for change is that Permits By Rule will be authorized for issuance, as well as general permits, based on the certification of a licensed site remediation professional (LSRP). This will, hopefully, eliminate the long delays in the permit issuance process that are currently being experienced.
It is possible changes will be made to reform the options for financial assurance for engineering controls. Surety bonds and self-guarantees would be allowed, including in the case of funding sources of remediation under the terms of the Industrial Site Recovery Act, and financial assurance mechanism terms would be reduced, allowing for renewals as and when appropriate.
Some changes could include:
- Direct oversight – A process may be created to eliminate direct oversight in cases where the parties agree to proceed to put right a deficiency that resulted in a direct oversight. It could also expand a litigation settlement so matters are settled in an administrative fashion by consent order.
- Liability Reform – More clarity may be provided about liability relief, and expansion may be made for any innocent purchasers and volunteers.
- Historic Fill/Historic Pesticides – Hopefully, clarification will be made about the status of both these as well as when remediation is required. There is a possibility that greater flexibility will also be given compared with what exists in the law now.
Several regulatory and guidance issues may also receive attention from the new administration. These include:
- Reform to the fill guidance from the agency. This would enable alternative fill to be used above the floodplain and relax the limitations on “like on like” in certain appropriate circumstances.
- Clarification may be given in any situation where LSRPs are required to evaluate “contaminants of emerging concern,” as well as the standards that should be applied when addressing any remediation of these contaminants.
- The NJDEP’s direct oversight enforcement policy may be applied. An increasing number of sites are beginning to miss deadlines and falling into a mandatory direct oversight.
- The rule proposal made by the agency may be finalized to specify all remediation requirements appertaining to discharges from any unregulated tanks of heating oil.
- There may also be a re-examination into the recent changes made to groundwater and NJDEP soil remediation standards, as well as updates made to the default values that apply to the impact of soil on the standards for groundwater.
Whichever course is taken by the new administration, there is likely to be some amendments on their way to the NJDEP. Whatever form they will take is, yet, unclear. All American Environmental, however, is ready to stay compliant with the NJDEP Site Remediation Program Rule changes and regulations.