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Under recent changes to New Jersey’ s environmental statutes concerning environmental cleanups, remediation of most contaminated properties in New Jersey will no longer be supervised by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (“NJDEP”). Instead, licensed professionals known as Licensed Site Remediation Professionals, or LSRPs, will have the responsibility of reviewing and approving environmental cleanups in New Jersey. This represents a substantial change in the manner in which sites are cleaned up in this state.
In connection with its LSRP program, the NJDEP adopted a comprehensive set of Administrative Requirements for the Remediation of Contaminated Sites, also known as ARRCS Rules. Most recently amended on October 3, 2011, these rules are designed to replace the Technical Requirements for Site Remediation, or “Tech Reg,” the set of rules that have guided the site remediation process in New Jersey for the past two decades.
While the AARCS Rules are comprehensive, a fundamental change is that, under these new rules, there are very strict time requirements by which environmental remedial activities must take place. Violations of these requirements can result in monetary penalty assessments. Another fundamental change is a mechanism that allows for variances to be granted by LSRPs in instances where the presumed remedy is not necessary and an alternative remedy is adequately protective of public health and the environment.
Any environmental cleanup that is currently pending in New Jersey can be transferred to an LSRP. By April 2012, all of these cleanups will be supervised by an LSRP, with several exceptions that have been defined by the NJDEP. The NJDEP will continue to assess oversight costs in site remediation cases, although they will be measured differently than they are today, as the NJDEP will randomly audit a certain percentage of these cases in order to insure statutory and regulatory compliance.
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