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DEP Issues New Rules Governing Site Cleanups



November 30, 2009

On November 4, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) issued its new Administrative Requirements for the Remediation of Contaminated Sites (ARRCS). The new rules, which will be codified at N.J.A.C. 7:26C, were mandated by Section 29 of the Site Remediation Reform Act (SRRA), N.J.S.A. 58:10C-29.

The ARRCS, which replace DEP’s old Oversight Rules, govern all administrative aspects of site remediation. Of special importance are provisions that define the initiation of remediation, N.J.A.C. 7:26C-2, provisions setting forth mandatory remediation timeframes, N.J.A.C. 7:26C-3, and provisions concerning the issuance (as well as the modification, rescission and invalidation ) of final remediation documents. N.J.A.C. 7:26C-6. Also of note are rules establishing a new permit program that covers all remedial actions that require institutional or engineering controls or include operation and maintenance systems.

The ARRCS also contain provisions governing loans and grants from the Hazardous Discharge Site Remediation Fund, N.J.A.C. 7:26C-11.1 to -11.4, how to establish a remediation funding source as required by N.J.S.A. 58:10B-3, N.J.A.C. 7:26C-5.1 to -5.3, site access, N.J.A.C. 7:26C-8.1 to 8.2, payment of fees and DEP oversight costs, N.J.A.C. 7:26C-4.1 to 4.7, and enforcement and penalties for noncompliance. N.J.A.C. 7:26C-9.1 to 9.11. The subchapter on enforcement and penalties sets forth penalty amounts for violating any one of hundreds of specific regulatory requirements. N.J.A.C. 7:26C-9.5(b).

Pursuant to the SRRA, the ARRCS were adopted without comment and became effective immediately, even before their scheduled publication in the New Jersey Register on December 7. They will be in effect for up to eighteen months (i.e., May 4, 2011), within which time DEP will propose them for readoption and provide an opportunity for public comment. The full text of the new rules are available on DEP’s website.