Are You Prepared to Meet the May 7, 2019 Regulatory Deadline for Remedial Actions?
Responsible parties have an affirmative obligation to remediate contaminated sites pursuant to New Jersey’s Site Remediation Reform Act (SRRA), enacted in 2009. For sites where the discharge was discovered prior to May 7, 1999, the initial deadline under SRRA to complete remedial investigation was May 7, 2014. Subsequent amendments to SRRA afforded a two (2) year extension of the remedial investigation deadline to responsible parties that applied to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) for such an extension. A responsible party that either (a) did not obtain an extension of this deadline or (b) completed the remedial investigation, including submission of the remedial investigation report on or before May 7, 2014, must complete the remedial action by May 7, 2019, as set forth in New Jersey’s Technical Requirements for Site Remediation at N.J.A.C. 7:26E-5.8(b).
A responsible party’s failure to meet the remedial action regulatory deadline of May 7, 2019, may expose the site to Direct Oversight requirements, whereby NJDEP resumes pre-SRRA control of the remediation case, including the timing and funding of the remedial action. In addition to needing NJDEP approval for submissions and expenditures, a responsible party in Direct Oversight will be required to establish a remediation trust fund in the full amount of the estimated cleanup, among other burdensome requirements.
For sites that will use institutional or engineering controls and require remedial action permits as part of the remedial action, NJDEP has advised that remediating parties should submit remedial action permit applications at least 90 days prior to the deadline (on or before Wednesday, February 6, 2019). In our experience, it is taking NJDEP longer than 3 months to process these permit applications, and extension requests will be necessary where NJDEP has not issued necessary remedial action permit(s) prior to May 7, 2019.
Responsible parties that are concerned about meeting the May 7, 2019, regulatory deadline for remedial action should apply for an extension at least 30 days prior thereto (on or before Friday, April 5, 2019). GH&C’s environmental attorneys are available to review and assess regulatory compliance with SRRA and to assist with extension requests.