NJDEP to Clarify Use of Rounding in Determining Compliance with Remediation Standards
According to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (“NJDEP”), it has been receiving an increased number of inquiries regarding whether rounding analytical data is a legitimate method of determining compliance with remediation standards. In response, NJDEP is planning to reconvene a stakeholder committee in January 2020 to discuss the rounding issue, which could result in amendments to technical guidance to include rounding as an explicitly authorized method of determining compliance. However, NJDEP does not currently have an official policy regarding rounding as a method of compliance and the current laws and rules similarly do not address rounding. Therefore, until the stakeholder committee is convened and the technical guidance is issued, rounding is considered an unauthorized compliance option and should be avoided.
An example of rounding that is currently unauthorized, yet may become authorized if the stakeholder committee and NJDEP agree that the technical guidance should be amended to include rounding as a method of determining compliance, is when the remediation standard is 1.1 and that standard is deemed to be complied with although the analytical data comes back as 1.14. The idea is that the standard is met when 1.14 is rounded down to the nearest tenth, i.e. 1.1, but the issue is, without that rounding, the standard would be exceeded.