Site Remediation Program Reform in 2020

January 21, 2020
Bruce S. Katcher, Esq.
MGKF Special Alert - New Jersey Forecast 2020

Last year saw the first significant set of revisions to the New Jersey Site Remediation Reform Act since it was enacted in 2009, aka SRRA 2.0.  2020 portends further fine tuning of those revisions in the way of implementing regulations and the possibility of other reforms as industry stakeholders continue to press for further changes in site remediation program requirements via regulation. In either event, a regulatory package seems likely to be proposed in the coming year.

Examples of areas that SRRA 2.0 implementing regulations might address include what are the documents and other information that municipalities have a right to request from the party responsible for conducting the remediation (PRCR); what are the contents of the written summary status report that a PRCR may provide when faced with a public inquiry about its remediation; further detail on how a PRCR may qualify for relief from direct oversight when a mandatory time frame is missed; when might both signs and letters to surrounding property owners be required instead of just one or the other (as currently required);  and how will NJDEP encourage green remediation. 

Examples of areas not directly addressed by SRRA 2.0 but in which industry is likely to continue to press for reform in the coming year include making the remedial action permit process more efficient through the use of mechanisms such as general permits, permits by rule or other mechanisms; simplifying the process for remediation of historic fill and historically applied pesticides; elimination of unnecessary limitations on the use of alternative fill; reform of remediation requirements for innocent developers and greater use of sound risk based principles in making remediation decisions.