Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer, P.A.
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (“Department”) May 2014 requirement for completion of a Remedial Investigation and the submittal of a Remedial Investigation Report, imposed on certain contaminated sites in New Jersey by the Site Remediation Reform Act (“SRRA”) is quickly approaching. Those who are required to but fail to submit a Remedial Investigation Report before the May 7, 2014 deadline are expected to be moved into the Department's direct oversight Program, thus allowing the Department to define the remediation path for those sites going forward. There have been rumors that certain industry organizations plan on proposing legislation requesting an amendment to the Administrative Requirements for Remediating Contaminated Sites (“ARRCS”) regarding the definition of when “remedial investigation” is considered complete. There is a discrepancy between SRRA’s definition and ARRCS’ definition.
The Department has issued a policy with regard to the definition of “remedial investigation” that is consistent with the SRRA’s definition, which is more flexible than the ARRCS definition. The Department’s policy sets forth a specific definition for “complete the remedial investigation”, which is a clear and practical explanation of the Departments expectations regarding completing a remedial investigation. The Department, in their policy, has used the statutory definition found in SRRA for “complete the remedial investigation” and determined that the definition for this term set forth in the ARRCS rules does not achieve the Departments intentions. According to the Department’s policy when an LSRP in his or her professional judgment can conclude that a remedial investigation is complete 1) there is sufficient information to know the nature and extent of a discharge of a contaminant both on and off site 2) there is sufficient information if any receptors have been or may be impacted and 3) additional delineation is not necessary in order to select a remedy. The Department made the right call on this policy decision by providing a clear and practical definition that will allow LSRPs to determine when a remedial investigation is complete.