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Extension of Extensions: Deadline to Apply for Extension of Remedial Investigation Deadline Postponed

The May 7, 2014 Remedial Investigation Deadline Under New Jersey's Site Remediation Reform Act

The Site Remediation Reform Act (“SRRA”), N.J.S.A. 58:10C-1 et seq., requires that the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection undertake direct oversight of a remediation of certain contaminated sites when the person responsible for conducting the remediation fails to complete the remedial investigation of the entire contaminated site on or before May 7, 2014. This statutory requirement, which can be found at N.J.S.A. 58:10C-27(a)(3), to complete the remedial investigation on or before May 7, 2014 applies to:

  •  all discharges/contaminated areas of concern (“CAOC”) at the site where the contamination was identified on or before May 7, 1999, and
  •  all discharges/CAOCs at the site where the contamination should have been identified due to an obligation to complete a preliminary assessment and/or site investigation on or before May 7, 1999, pursuant to the Industrial Site Recovery Act Rules (N.J.A.C. 7:26B), the Underground Storage of Hazardous Substances Rules (N.J.A.C. 7:14B), an Administrative or Court Order, Remediation Agreement, or a Spill Act Directive.

In other words, a large majority of contaminated sites in New Jersey are statutorily required to complete the painstaking process of a site wide remedial investigation in two months from today.

Possible Remedial Investigation Deadline Extensions to May 7, 2016

On January 17, 2014, Governor Christie signed P.L.2013, c.283, which allows certain persons responsible for conducting remediation to qualify for a two year extension, until May 7, 2016, to complete the remedial investigation. To qualify for this extension, the applicant must certify to the following:

  •  A LSRP has been retained to conduct a remediation of the site;
  •  Any remediation requirements included in mandatory remediation timeframes adopted pursuant to N.J.S.A. 58:10C-28 for the site have been met at the time of the certification;
  •  Technically complete submissions have been made in compliance with all rules and regulations for site remediation, as applicable, for the:

(a) initial receptor evaluation,

(b) immediate environmental concern source control report,

(c) light non-aqueous phase liquid interim remedial measure report,

(d) preliminary assessment report, and

(e) site investigation report;

  •   A remediation funding source has been established, if required of the applicant by the Brownfield and Contaminated Site Remediation Act, N.J.S.A. 58:10B-3;
  •  If a remediation funding source is not required to be established by the applicant pursuant to law, then a remediation trust fund for the estimated cost of the remedial investigation has been established pursuant to the standards established in section N.J.S.A. 58:10B-3;
  •  Any oversight costs imposed by the Department, known at the time of the application, and not in dispute on January 17, 2014 (date of enactment of P.L.2013, c.283), have been paid to the Department; and
  •  The annual fees imposed by the Department for the remediation and, as applicable, remediation funding source surcharges imposed pursuant to N.J.S.A. 58:10B-11 have been paid to the Department.

The March 21, 2014: Application Due for Extension of the Remedial Investigation Deadline

All applications for an extension must be submitted to the Department by March 7, 2014. However, according to an e-mail circulated by the NJDEP’s SRRA listserv, the NJDEP will continue to accept "May 7, 2014 Remedial Investigation Complete Timeframe Extension Form" requests through the NJDEP Online portal through March 21, 2014. This extension is due to the large number of weather-related closings that have occurred this winter in New Jersey.

Similar to other portions of the LSRP program that have been unveiled since May 7, 2009, it is unclear how many contaminated sites will end up back in direct oversight of the NJDEP. Furthermore, if that number is large, it is unclear if the NJDEP will have the manpower to oversee all of the non-compliant sites.




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