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Division of Land Use Regulation
State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection

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PermittingCommon Project TypesFreshwater WetlandsStreams & Rivers (FHA)Coastal AreasTidelandsHighlandsMitigationPermit Extension ActElectronic (E) ServicesApplication Status

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Remediation of Contaminated Sites and Land Fills

  • Overview
  • Freshwater Wetlands
  • Flood Hazard
  • Coastal
  • Tidelands

Hazardous waste from previous site uses such as landfills and industrial sites may persist in the environment and warrant investigation, mitigation, and clean up. Activities are permitted in wetlands, transition areas, and State open waters for the investigation and clean up of hazardous waste. Sites containing hazardous waste are administered by either the Department's Division of Solid and Hazardous Waste or the Site Remediation Program..

Depending upon what special areas your project may be impacting, different approvals for the Department may be needed. If you don't know what special areas are on your site, please check out the before you buy, before you build section of this website for guidance on determining if your site has one of these regulated special areas on it. If you know of, or have an idea of what special areas your proposed project will impact, you can click on any of the tabs above for more information.

The investigation and clean up of hazardous waste within freshwater wetlands, transition areas, and/or State open waters requires a Freshwater Wetlands (FWW) permit. Two FWW General Permit (GP) are available for this type of activity, they are a GP4 and GP5.

GP4-Hazardous site investigation and clean up - May be obtained for disturbances to freshwater wetlands, transition areas, and State open waters, which are undertaken by the Department or expressly approved in writing by the Department's Division of Remediation Managment and Response, for the investigation, clean up, and removal of hazardous substances and pollutants.

GP5-Landfill closures - May be obtained for disturbances to freshwater wetlands, transition areas, and State open waters, which are undertaken by the Department's Division of Solid and Hazardous Waste, or authorized through a solid waste facility closure and post-closure plan or disruption approval issued by the Departement to adequately or properly close the solid waste facility and to propoerly maintain and monitor it after closure.

Conducting hazardous waste clean-up activities within a regulated area requires authorization of some type under the Flood Hazard Area Control Act rules.  This depends upon whether or not the project area is regulated under the Coastal Zone Management (CZM) rules.  Specifically, if regulated under CZM, then no separate flood hazard approval is required.  In this case, the applicant need only submit a report and plans demonstrating compliance with the Flood Hazard Area Control Act rules as part of the CZM permit application. 

Assuming there is no jurisdiction under CZM, authorization may be granted under a Permit by Rule (PBR).  Potential qualifying PBRs include those found in N.J.A.C. 7:13-7.2(a)2 or N.J.A.C. 7:13-7.2(b)6.  Please refer to the rules to see the all of the applicable conditions where each PBR would apply.  Some special notes about these PBRs are listed as follows.

N.J.A.C. 7:13-7.2(a)2 – In order to qualify for this PBR, the entire area of proposed disturbance must be located outside of the flood hazard area.  In addition, with this PBR, the Department’s Division of Coastal and Land Use Compliance and Enforcement must be notified of construction at least 2 weeks prior to the start of any construction.

N.J.A.C. 7:13-7.2(b)6 – In order to qualify for this PBR, please note that the controlling flood hazard area must be tidal, as opposed to fluvial.  

The investigation, cleanup, removal, or remediation of hazardous substances as defined by or pursuant to the Spill Compensation and Control Act (N.J.S.A. 58:10-23.11 et seq.) or pollutants as defined by the New Jersey Water Pollution Control Act (N.J.S.A. 58:10A-1 et seq.), undertaken within CAFRAor Waterfront Development jurisdiction or within mapped coastal wetlands generally requires a permit.  There are no exemptions specifically for remediation activities; however, there are a few general permits and one permit-by-rule available.  If the proposed project does not meet the requirements for a general permit described below, an Individual permit will be required
Please refer to the “Jurisdiction” section of the "Coastal Permitting" section of the website to determine which areas regulated under the Coastal Permit Program Rules (N.J.A.C. 7:7-1.1 et seq.) and the Coastal Zone Management Rules (N.J.A.C. 7:7E-1.1 et seq.) occur on your site. The availability of certain permits and exemptions for a project depend on where your project is proposed.

Additional information regarding the Division’s coastal program can be found on the “Coastal Permitting” section of this website.  If necessary, please contact the Division’s Technical Support Center for further assistance.

This permit-by-rule may apply to your project –

  • Permit-by-Rule 21 authorizes the implementation of a sediment sampling plan for sampling to be conducted within a water area described at N.J.A.C. 7:7E-4.1 as part of a remedial investigation provided the project complies with all requirements of this permit-by-rule.  Please refer to N.J.A.C. 7:7-7.2(a)21 for information on the requirements of this permit-by-rule.

These general permits may apply to your project --

  • Coastal General Permit 15 authorizes all regulated activities above the mean high water line that are undertaken, authorized, or otherwise expressly approved in writing by the Department’s Division of Solid and Hazardous Waste or the Division of Remediation Management provided all requirements of this general permit are met.   For further information regarding the requirements of this general permit, please refer to N.J.A.C. 7:7-7.15
  • Coastal General Permit 27  authorizes geotechnical survey borings for the purpose of determining the presence or extent of contaimination in subsurface soils or groundwater provided all of the requirements of the general permit are met.  .  This is sometimes the first step in determining if hazardous material cleanup is required.  For further information regarding the requirements of this general permit, please refer to N.J.A.C. 7:7-7.27.

Tidelands, also known as riparian lands, are all those lands now or formerly flowed by the mean high tide of a natural waterway; that is to say any land that is currently or was previously covered by tidal waters.  The State of New Jersey, and therefore the people of New Jersey, owns all Tidelands except for those to which it has already sold its interest in the form of a riparian grant.  It is important to note that the State generally does not own artificial waterways such as lagoons however, the State does claim those lands within a lagoon that were flowed by the mean high tide of a natural waterway which existed prior to the creation of the lagoon.

Hazardous waste clean-up activities that are proposed in a tidelands area may require a tidelands license if the activities are taking place at or below the mean high water line of a tidal waterway or a tidelands grant if the activities are taking place in an area that is currently landward of the mean high water line but was, at some point, flowed by the tide.

A tidelands license is a short term revocable rental document to use tidelands generally for structures such as docks, bulkhead extensions, mooring piles, and other temporary structures as well as for dredging projects. Licenses are project specific and expire after a finite term ranging from one to ten years. Most licenses may be renewed.

A riparian grant, or tidelands grant, is a deed from the State of New Jersey selling its tidelands. Tidelands grants are generally only issued for lands that have already been filled in and are no longer flowed by the tide.

For more information on tidelands instruments, please see the tidelands section of this website.

For information and instruction on how to determine whether you are in an area that may require either a license or a grant, or for information how to apply for Tideland instruments please see the "Before you Build, Before you Buy" webpage.

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Last Updated: February 9, 2015