New Regulations Impose More Stringent Public Notification Requirements for New Jersey Cleanups

November 16, 2008
by BRUCE KATCHER and CHRISTOPER BALL
Client Alert Newsletter November 2008

On September 2, 2008, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection ("NJDEP") published regulations requiring enhanced public notification at contaminated sites. The baseline requirements mandate that a party responsible for cleaning up a contaminated site, whether voluntarily or by direction of NJDEP, must:

  • Post a sign or distribute notification letters informing surrounding property owners, tenants and municipal officials of the presence of contamination and planned remediation activities.
  • Complete and submit to NJDEP and local officials a checklist identifying sensitive local populations and resources.
  • Where contamination migrates off-site, distribute and periodically update a fact sheet to the surrounding community and publish it in a local newspaper.
  • Comply with any additional public outreach requirements imposed by NJDEP where the agency determines that site-specific conditions or substantial public interest warrant such measures.
  • Distribute additional notification letters where a planned remediation will bring contaminated material (e.g., fill) on-site in excess of the amount necessary to complete remediation requirements or construct engineering controls.

The regulations are effective immediately. Notification must typically be made two weeks prior to initiation of field activities for a single-phase remediation or for the remedial investigation of a multiphase remediation. A phase-in period for remedial investigations or remedial actions that were ongoing as of September 2, 2008, allows the remediating party until September 2, 2009 to come into compliance. The regulations also allow for the remediating party to propose to NJDEP an alternative plan and provide certain exemptions including exemptions for emergency response actions and remediation of leaking heating-oil tanks involving one to four residential units.

Manko, Gold, Katcher & Fox has prepared a table summarizing the new regulations, a copy of which can be found here. Clients are encouraged to contact Bruce Katcher (bkatcher@mgkflaw.com; 484-430-2320) or Christopher Ball (cball@mgkflaw.com; 484-430-2358) at our offices with questions regarding the scope of public notification required at specific sites.