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Recent Developments in Site Remediation: Revised Soil Remediation Standards

On September 18, 2017, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) updated the soil remediation standards for nineteen contaminants. These changes, which took effect on September 18, 2017, are significant for persons responsible for remediating contaminated property, environmental professionals, and potential purchasers of contaminated sites, as the new standards may impact remediation requirements.  The impact of the new standards will depend primarily upon whether the site already has a Final Remediation Document and how much the revised standard(s) have changed.

DEP’s September 2017 soil remediation standard updates are based upon revisions by the United States Environmental Protection Agency to toxicity information. Specifically, the soil remediation standards are now less stringent for eleven contaminants, including solvents tetrachloroethene (PCE) and 1,1,1-trichloroethane (1,1,1-TCA) and several polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) commonly found in historic fill, like benzo(a)pyrene.  The soil remediation standards are more stringent for six contaminants, including the solvent trichloroethene (TCE).  The standards for three of those six contaminants have significantly decreased (i.e., the threshold for action is lower) by an order of magnitude or more: 1,1-biphenyl (for both residential and non-residential); cyanide (both residential and non-residential); and nitrobenzene (non-residential only).  One contaminant remains unchanged (1,1,2,2 tetrachloroethane), while another will no longer be regulated under DEP’s soil remediation standards (thallium).

Persons remediating contaminated sites and their environmental professionals should familiarize themselves with the new standards and understand the potential impact on remediation requirements, particularly if the site has been impacted by any of the contaminants subject to significantly more stringent standards (i.e., 1,1-biphenyl, cyanide, and nitrobenzene). In addition, prospective purchasers of contaminated property should carefully assess during due diligence whether there is a possibility of DEP re-opening a remediation case given the new standards, and environmental professionals should consider addressing same in a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment and/or a Preliminary Assessment.

Donna A. McBarron and Melissa A. Clarke contributed to this post. 

© 2020 Giordano, Halleran & Ciesla, P.C. All Rights Reserved National Law Review, Volume VIII, Number 60

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Michael J. Gross, Giordano Law Firm, Environmental Attorney
Shareholder/Managing Partner

Mike, chair of the Environmental Law Practice Area, handles all aspects of New Jersey and federal environmental law, including permitting and litigation, CAFRA, sewage disposal and water supply, wetlands, riparian (tidelands) law, solid waste, flood hazard areas, siting of energy and other industrial facilities, site remediation, Pinelands, Highlands, cultural resources, stormwater, wastewater planning, water and air pollution. He also appears before planning and zoning boards and has handled complex construction litigation matters.

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Paul, Chair of the Environmental & Land Use Litigation Practice Area, focuses his practice in environmental, redevelopment, land use, regulatory, real estate and affordable housing law, and litigation. He also handles a wide variety of redevelopment matters as well as corporate and commercial litigation. In addition to handling major litigation before both the state and federal courts and the Office of Administrative Law, he has extensive experience before the New Jersey Supreme Court and the Appellate Division.

Paul represents real estate developers and other businesses in all types of environmental and land use matters, including permitting and compliance in the areas of water, wetlands, waste, and air; brownfields redevelopment; site remediation; and transactional. He also represents landowners in cost recovery actions, as well as in enforcement actions brought by government or environmental groups.

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Steven M. Dalton, Giordano Law Firm, Attorney, Environmental - Land Use, Environmental - Site Remediation, Land Use & Development Law ,Cannabis Law, Real Estate, Renewable Energy, Environmental Law, Land Use Law, Litigation
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Steve's primary practice is in Environmental Law. He is able to utilize his background in environmental sciences to anticipate, understand and address the issues that his clients confront. Steve assists business and individual clients in state and federal environmental permitting, regulatory compliance, solid and hazardous waste remediation and redevelopment of contaminated sites, underground storage tank compliance, water and sewer rights and approvals, Tideland rights and approvals, and municipal land use matters.  Steve also assists clients with environmental aspects of real estate...

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Marc D. Policastro Shareholder Giordano Law Firm, Business Attorney
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Marc, Chair of the Environmental Department, is a transactional, business attorney, who focuses his practice in development, redevelopment, environmental compliance cases, corporate transactional matters, land use, zoning and business counseling. Admitted to practice in New Jersey and New York, he has represented numerous national developers, manufacturers, cogeneration facilities and utilities, automobile dealerships, lenders, borrowers and municipal boards in myriad land use contexts, including commercial and residential development and due diligence matters. He also focuses on complex...

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Steve focuses his practice on government affairs, transactional, and real estate development. As Chairman of the law firm's Government Affairs Department, he seeks to identify expeditious resolution of client issues at all levels of government. He also works to assure clear and direct communications between his clients and government representatives. Furthermore Steve provides guidance to his clients through the administrative and legislative processes. He also counsels clients on anti pay to play compliance for clients doing business with federal, state, county and municipal governments....

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