New Jersey DEP Announces Extended November 1, 2022 Deadline to Register Large Refrigeration Systems

October 13, 2022
Katherine L. Vaccaro, Esq., Brielle A. Brown, Esq., and Will Hitchcock
MGKF Special Alert

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) finalized a new rule earlier this year requiring facilities with large refrigeration systems to register and start reporting annually so the state can account for the systems’ greenhouse gas emissions.  See N.J.A.C. 7:27E, Subchapter 2 “Registration and Reporting for Registration Systems” (the Refrigeration Reporting Rule).  The new rule specifies an October 1, 2022 registration deadline for all existing systems, but NJDEP announced at its Industrial Stakeholder Group meeting on October 7, 2022, that the deadline is extended until November 1, 2022, due to problems with the state’s online registration portal.  In addition to registering their refrigeration systems, facilities need to pay a $400 registration fee and then immediately start tracking refrigerant inventories, maintenance activities, and other information to satisfy applicable recordkeeping and annual reporting requirements.

The Refrigeration Reporting Rule targets commercial and institutional facilities with large refrigeration systems, such as data centers, grocery stores, hospitals, and colleges and universities, and industrial facilities with process cooling systems.  Specifically, a facility is subject to the rule if has one or more refrigeration systems installed on or before June 21, 2022, that (i) is comprised of one or more individual circuits with a full charge greater than or equal to 50 pounds, and (ii) at least one refrigerant in the circuit is a high-global warming potential (GWP) refrigerant.    

To determine whether your facility is subject to the Refrigeration Reporting Rule, first identify the specific refrigerants used in your system(s).  NJDEP compiled a list of high-GWP refrigerants here.  If at least one of the refrigerants is a high-GWP refrigerant, then confirm the full charge in pounds for the relevant circuit(s).  “Full charge” is the amount of refrigerant required in the circuit for normal operating conditions and is determined by either (i) the equipment manufacturer’s specifications; (ii) calculation; or (iii) the midpoint of an established range for full charge based on the best available data.  Typically, the manufacturer-specified full charge is on a label on the equipment and should be easy to confirm.  If not, you’ll likely need to bring in an engineer or other technical professional.  

If you believe your facility triggers the new rule, there’s still time to register and pay the fee.  The extended November 1 deadline applies to all existing facilities.  If a facility installs a new refrigeration system anytime after June 21, 2022, that is subject to the rule, you must register it within 90 days following installation.  If there are any changes to a covered refrigeration system post-registration, you must notify NJDEP within 120 days following the change.  A registration is good for five years, after which it needs to be renewed by paying another registration fee. 

Facilities that register by November 1 are required to submit an initial report for the period from October 1 through December 31, 2022, although NJDEP may update the initial reporting period consistent with the extended November 1, 2022 registration deadline.  The initial report is due April 1, 2023.  All subsequent reports will be for a calendar-year reporting period, due by April 1 of the following calendar year.  The rule also imposes detailed recordkeeping obligations, including record retention minimums.  To satisfy the reporting and recordkeeping requirements, facilities will need to review and maintain records of refrigerant purchases, inventories, charges, leak repairs, and among many others.

If you have questions about the Refrigeration Reporting Rule, please contact MGKF Technical Consultant Will Hitchcock at 484-430-2356, or Attorneys Kate Vaccaro at 484-430-2329 or Brielle Brown at 484-430-2332.