New Jersey LSRP and Site Remediation Reform Update

September 8, 2009
by BRUCE KATCHER
Client Alert Newsletter September 2009

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection ("NJDEP") has been busy developing the new Licensed Site Remediation Professional ("LSRP") program and other site remediation reforms under the Site Remediation Reform Act ("SRRA") signed into law by Governor Corzine on May 7, 2009. The full program is scheduled to commence in early November 2009. Among the steps taken by NJDEP so far are the following:

  • The voluntary memorandum of agreement ("MOA") process has been discontinued. An interim process to take the place of the MOA until November 3, 2009 has been established. After that date, all new site remediation cases must use an LSRP.
  • Application materials for temporary LSRP licenses have been posted on NJDEP's website, together with a frequently asked questions guidance document. NJDEP has committed to issuing the first licenses in October 2009.
  • Draft forms for submittal of Preliminary Assessments/Site Investigations, Remedial Investigation Reports, Remedial Action Workplans and Remedial Action Reports have also been prepared and published on NJDEP's website.
  • A draft presumptive remedies guidance document for cleanups at schools, child care facilities and residential (single and multifamily) projects is posted on NJDEP’s website. The comment period on the draft closed on August 28, 2009.
  • A guidance document describing when NJDEP will exercise its authority to undertake direct oversight of cases (in lieu of oversight by an LSRP) is also available. Direct oversight will give NJDEP the authority to select the remedy and will require the posting of a trust fund to cover remediation costs.

NJDEP is also working on the interim program regulations, which are required to be published by November 2009, and will not be subject to public notice and comment. These regulations will includes changes to the Technical Rules and Oversight Rules to make these regulations consistent with SRRA. They will also address other SRRA requirements such as:

  • direct oversight, presumptive remedies and fees;
  • mandatory timeframes for completion of the various steps in the site remediation process;
  • obligations set forth in Section 30, including the obligation to hire an LSRP for all new cases, proceed without the approval of NJDEP, comply with mandatory timeframes, etc.; and,
  • process issues—what to submit and how.

Finally, NJDEP has announced that it will allow existing cases, which are not required to retain an LSRP for up to three years, to voluntarily opt into the LSRP program, subject to NJDEP approval. The time is rapidly approaching when parties performing remediation will be able to make that decision and it is not too early to begin evaluating whether to do so now.