Statutory Deadline to Complete Remedial Investigation by May 7, 2014

Synergy Environmental, Inc.
David Robinson, LSRP

July 23, 2013

This month, NJDEP sent notice regarding the Statutory Deadline to Complete Remedial Investigation by May 7, 2014. The Department directed letters to ”all persons responsible for conducting the remediation who, according to the Department’s records, are required to meet the May 7, 2014 statutory deadline for completing the remedial investigation set forth in the Site Remediation Reform Act (SRRA; N.J.S.A. 58:10C-1 et seq.” The DEP also set up a website with information regarding the statutory deadline, and created a call center (1-855-629-2014) for inquiries pertaining to the requirement. The call center operates between 9 am and 4 pm.

The SRRA states that, ”The department shall undertake direct oversight of a remediation of a contaminated site under the following conditions: … unless a longer period has been ordered by a court, the person responsible for conducting the remediation has, prior to the date of enactment of N.J.S.A. 58:10C-1 et seq., failed to complete the remedial investigation of the entire contaminated site 10 years after the discovery of a discharge at the site and has failed to complete the remedial investigation of the entire contaminated site within five years after the date of enactment of N.J.S.A. 58:10C-1 et seq.” (NJDEP SRP Website).

A summary of the specifications of the requirement, as published in the DEP’s June 2013 Compliance Alert Statement: Interpretation of SRRA Requirement to Complete the Remedial Investigation by May 2014, is available at the NJDEP SRP website. The Interpretation addresses:

  • “To what the May 7, 2014 deadline applies”
  • “What “entire contaminated site” means”
  • “What “complete the remedial investigation” means”
  • “What “nature and extent of the contamination” means”
  • “The need to attain remediation standards prior to issuance of a Response Action
    Outcome”

A PDF of the Compliance Alert Letter is also available on the NJDEP’s website, as is a list of Frequently Asked Questions.

Report: NJ DEP Environmental Actions Plummet

NJ Press Media
Todd B. Bates
[email protected]

July 2o, 2013

The number of state and county environmental enforcement actions plummeted 54 percent from fiscal 2008 to 2012, according to a state report released Thursday.

“That’s a massive drop,” said Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club.
Enforcement is a deterrent, and the concern is that “the lack of enforcement ends up leading to more pollution, more contaminated sites, more air pollution, water problems, impact on public health,” said Tittel, who released the state Department of Environmental Protection report.

DEP spokesman Larry Ragonese said the number of contaminated sites has dropped from 20,000 to 14,200, among other environmental improvements.

The DEP’s strategy is “to get more compliance, to resolve problems quickly, with the overall goal of an improved environment, and in many cases that means picking up the phone, not sitting at the desk and churning out 50 violations,” and meeting with people, he said.

The new DEP compliance and enforcement report centers on fiscal years 2011 and 2012 and follows an Asbury Park Press investigation published last year.

The Press found that DEP fines for air quality, water quality and other environmental violations decreased from fiscal 2007 to 2011 under Democratic and Republican governors.

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Communities Need Flexibility from EPA Regs

STANDARD JOURNAL

July 20, 2013

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson has cosponsored H.R. 2707, the Clean Water Compliance and Ratepayer Affordability Act of 2013, which gives communities flexibility in dealing with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) clean water regulations. This bill will direct the EPA to work with municipalities that are seeking to develop and implement integrated plans to meet their wastewater and storm water obligations.

“Currently the EPA too often takes a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to dealing with municipalities and their waste water systems,” said Simpson. “Communities should have flexibility to meet federal clean water standards rather than being required to do so in a way that may be practically or economically unfeasible. Best practices for one community may differ than those of another.”

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Environmental Update: Fourth Circuit Sheds Light on CERCLA’s BFPP Defense

Thompson Hine, LLP
Andrew L. Kolesar and Erin Michelle Minor

July 15, 2013

Overview

The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit recently issued a ruling in PCS Nitrogen Inc. v. Ashley II of Charleston, LLC, 714 F.3d 161 (4th Cir. 2013) (Ashley II) that makes it more risky to rely on the bona fide prospective purchaser (BFPP) defense. Ashley II is the first decision by a federal appellate court concerning the scope of the BFPP defense. The decision highlights the risks of reliance on the defense and the need to strictly comply with the statutory prerequisites. In addition, Ashley II underscores the importance of conducting thorough due diligence to gain an understanding of site conditions and risks, which allows prospective purchasers to mitigate risks pre-closing through contractual protections, insurance or other means, or walk away from the prospective deal.

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