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SRP Enforcement Enforcement-Related Frequently Asked Questions

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Compliance Questions

  1. I believe the remediation at my site has been completed. Why is the Department telling me that I am out of compliance with the Site Remediation Reform Act and I need to hire a Licensed Site Remediation Professional (LSRP)?

    The remediation of an entire site or area of concern (AOC) is not complete unless a letter of No Further Action (NFA) was issued by the Department (prior to May 7, 2012) or an LSRP has issued a Response Action Outcome (RAO). When an NFA or RAO (also known as a "final remediation document") is issued, that information is reflected in the New Jersey Environmental Management System (NJEMS); the Department's database used to track the remedial status of contaminated sites. The final remediation document will identify whether the remediation was for the entire site or AOC(s); commonly known as the "scope of remediation". For some sites where the scope of remediation was limited to AOC(s), it is not uncommon for contamination to be identified that is not related to the AOCs for which the final remediation document was issued. In these situations, the final remediation document should identify the contamination that was found, but not remediated. If you have been advised to hire an LSRP, the Department's records may indicate: 1) that the remediation of your entire site or AOC has not been completed; 2) other contamination may have been identified on your site that was not covered by the scope of remediation that was completed; or 3) there may be outstanding remediation obligations related to the Industrial Site Recovery Act, the Underground Storage of Hazardous Substances Act or other criteria listed in the Administrative Requirements for the Remediation of Contaminated Sites at N.J.A.C. 7:26C-2.2a (see http://www.nj.gov/dep/rules/rules/njac7_26c.pdf). If any of these criteria apply, an LSRP is required to be retained to complete the remediation. The Compliance Assistance Manager contacting you should be able to explain why you are required to hire an LSRP and the laws and regulations that apply.

  2. My site received a letter of No Further Action (NFA)/Response Action Outcome (RAO). Why do I need to retain a Licensed Site Remediation Professional (LSRP)?

    An NFA or RAO may have been issued for your site in the past. However, having an NFA or RAO for an area of concern does not mean that the entire site or other areas of concern have been remediated. In addition, contamination may have been reported or discharged after the NFA or RAO was issued. Understanding the scope of remediation that was covered by the NFA or RAO is critical in understanding what remediation obligations are outstanding. Please review your NFA or RAO to determine the scope of the remediation (area of concern or entire site). If that simple check does not identify what remediation is outstanding, a comparison then needs to be made between the unique numeric identifiers provided in the NFA/RAO document heading with the current triggering event, as defined by N.J.A.C. 7:26C-2.2(a). If you are not familiar with the meaning of these numeric identifiers, please contact the Department's Compliance Assistance Program at 609-633-1464 for additional assistance. Most likely, you are being required to retain an LSRP for an unremediated area of concern or triggering event that was not included in the NFA or RAO.

  3. Once contacted by Compliance Assistance, how much time do I have to bring my site into compliance? Can Compliance Assistance grant me an extension?

    Do not wait to be contacted by Compliance Assistance. Amendments to the Brownfield and Contaminated Sites Act, N.J.S.A. 58:10B-1.3, established an affirmative obligation to conduct remediation. This means that if you are responsible for conducting remediation you must do so without being told by the Department. Compliance Assistance does not issue extensions. When contacted by Compliance Assistance, at least one aspect of the remediation of your site is already out of compliance with the Site Remediation Reform Act and its implementing regulations, penalties are accruing on a daily basis, and you should bring your site back into compliance as quickly as possible. Any case that is out of compliance is subject to the issuance of an enforcement action including the assessment of civil administrative penalties. To determine the potential civil administrative penalty liability for non-compliance, please refer to the Administrative Requirements for the Remediation of Contaminated Sites (ARRCS), N.J.A.C. 7:26C-9.5. An online copy of ARRCS can be found on the Department's website at:
    http://www.nj.gov/dep/rules/rules/njac7_26c.pdf.
    Note that each day during which a violation continues constitutes an additional, separate and distinct offense that is subject to penalties.

  4. I would like to hire a Licensed Site Remediation Professional (LSRP), but I don't know where to find one. Does the Department maintain a list of LSRPs?

    Yes. A list of available LSRPs can be found on the Department's website at:
    http://www.nj.gov/dep/srp/srra/lsrp/temporary_lsrp_list.htm.

  5. Can the Department recommend a Licensed Site Remediation Professional (LSRP)?

    While the Department does maintain a list of LSRPs as stated in FAQ 4 above, the Department cannot recommend an LSRP.

  6. I need more information regarding the past remedial activities at my site. How do I review the Department's case files?

    The Department's case files can be reviewed via the Open Public Records Act (OPRA). Online OPRA requests are submitted through the Department's Record Access Program, which is available on the Department's website at
    http://www.state.nj.us/dep/opra/.

  7. Are there certain cases that are exempt from the requirement to hire a Licensed Site Remediation Professional (LSRP)?

    Yes. The Administrative Requirements for the Remediation of Contaminated Sites (ARRCS), N.J.A.C. 7:26C-1.4 defines who is exempt from the requirement to hire an LSRP. A copy of ARRCS is available on the Department's website at:
    http://www.nj.gov/dep/rules/rules/njac7_26c.pdf. If you are unsure whether or not you need to retain an LSRP, please consult with your attorney or environmental professional. If you believe that your site has been incorrectly identified by the Department as a site which requires that you retain an LSRP, please contact the Department's Compliance Assistance Program at 609-633-1464.

  8. Can I meet with the Department to discuss my case?

    The LSRP Program was established so licensed environmental professionals could provide case oversight without Department preapproval or involvement. Since the LSRP's role is to direct the remediation, the Department does not routinely meet on case specific matters. However, the Department has identified a list of Site Remediation Program representatives and their telephone numbers that may be contacted on a wide range of remediation topics. This contact list can be found at:
    http://www.nj.gov/dep/srp/srra/srra_contacts.htm. The Department has also established a process to allow Licensed Site Remediation Professionals (LSRPs) and remediating parties to consult with experienced Department staff on complex, site specific technical matters. For more information on technical consultations, please visit http://www.nj.gov/dep/srp/srra/technical_consultation/.

    Please note that the Department does not define to what extent a person is liable for remediation. That determination is for the court system to decide. The Department recommends that legal counsel be hired to address this topic.

  9. What happens if my case is not brought into compliance?

    Failure to conduct the required remediation and submit the required forms/documents to the Department may result in the issuance of an enforcement action including the assessment of civil administrative penalties and an order to complete the outstanding requirements. To determine the potential civil administrative penalty liability for non-compliance, please refer to the Administrative Requirements for the Remediation of Contaminated Sites (ARRCS) N.J.A.C. 7:26C-9.5. An online copy of ARRCS is available on the Department's website at:
    http://www.nj.gov/dep/rules/rules/njac7_26c.pdf. Note that each day during which a violation continues constitutes an additional, separate and distinct offense that is subject to penalties.

  10. I would like to file a formal complaint against my Licensed Site Remediation Professional (LSRP), is there someone I can contact?

    The New Jersey Site Remediation Professional Licensing Board (Board) is authorized by the Site Remediation Reform Act (SRRA), N.J.S.A. 58:10C, to impose disciplinary action against an LSRP when, in the opinion of the Board, the LSRP has violated the Code of Conduct provisions contained within SRRA. There is an LSRP complaint form available on the SRPLB's website via http://www.nj.gov/lsrpboard/.

  11. How can a party update the contact information the Department has on file or provide pertinent changes in site address information?

    Informational updates such as these can be reported on the Department's "Name and Address Change Reporting" Form located in the Department's Site Remediation Form Library located at:
    http://www.nj.gov/dep/srp/srra/forms/. This form cannot be used to add or remove a responsible party.

  12. I am the Licensed Site Remediation Professional (LSRP) for multiple sites or I am a responsible party or person responsible for conducting remediation. Is there a report available to allow me to access the compliance information available in the Department's records?

    Yes. The Department maintains a records access program known as Data Miner, which is available at http://www.nj.gov/dep/opra/online.html. Within Data Miner, you will find a variety of reports that will provide you with the current compliance status of a site or sites, including reports that identify what documents are due or past due. At the Data Miner webpage, launch data miner by clicking the launch button. Select "reports by category", select "site remediation", select "case tracking reports" and select the report type most applicable to the type of search information you have available. Remember to read the caveat statements for each report to confirm the type of information the report is capable of locating. For general assistance, after you launch Data Miner, you can click the "Help" icon located at the top of the page.

  13. I previously submitted the required forms/reports to the Department's Bureau of Case Assignment and Initial Notice (BCAIN), however, Data Miner does not show that the information has been received. Who can I contact?

    First, please verify that the form(s)/report(s) have been submitted to the Department and to the correct address. If this has been verified, questions regarding the receipt of forms/reports previously submitted can be directed to the BCAIN duty officer at 609-292-2943.

  14. The information in Data Miner appears to be incorrect, is there someone I can contact for assistance?

    Yes. If your question is about receipt of forms/reports previously submitted, please contact the Department's Bureau of Case Assignment and Initial Notice at 609-292-2943 as indicated in FAQ 13, above. All other questions concerning inaccuracies in Data Miner regarding the compliance of your case should be directed to the Department's Compliance Assistance Program at 609-633-1464.

  15. I have questions pertaining to the Annual Remediation Fee Reporting Form, the Annual Remediation Fee, and/or an invoice. Who can I contact for assistance?

    The Department has created a Fee Guidance Document which may answer your questions. The Fee Guidance Document is available on the Department's website at http://www.nj.gov/dep/srp/guidance/srra/fee_guidance_document.pdf. If after reviewing the Guidance Document you have questions related to the Annual Remediation Fee Reporting Form, please contact the Department's Compliance Assistance Program at 609-633-1464. For all other questions related to the Annual Remediation Fee, unpaid oversight costs, or outstanding invoices, please contact the Office of Direct Billing and Cost Recovery at 609-633-0701. The website for the Office of Direct Billing and Cost Recovery can be accessed via http://www.nj.gov/dep/srp/directbilling/. Please note that all unpaid oversight costs and fees must be paid prior to the issuance of a final remediation document pursuant to N.J.A.C. 7:26C 4.9(c)4.

  16. Does the Department still accept paper copies of the Annual Remediation Fee Reporting Form and the Licensed Site Remediation Professional (LSRP) Notification of Retention or Dismissal Form?

    No. As of January 18, 2013, the Department removed both the "Annual Remediation Fee Reporting Form" and the "LSRP Notification of Retention or Dismissal" form from the Site Remediation Program (SRP) webpage. The "Annual Remediation Fee Reporting Form" and the "LSRP Notification of Retention or Dismissal" form are now available as online Department services and must be submitted electronically. The online instructions to both forms can be found on the SRP webpage at:
    http://www.state.nj.us/dep/srp/srra/forms/

  17. Do all cases have a regulatory and mandatory timeframe for the submittal of a Preliminary Assessment Report and/or a Site Investigation Report?

    No. Cases subject to the Industrial Site Recovery Act Rules (ISRA), N.J.A.C. 7:26B, have a regulatory and mandatory timeframe for the submittal of a Preliminary Assessment (PA) Report and, if required based upon the PA, a Site Investigation (SI) Report. Cases subject to the Underground Storage Tank Rules, N.J.A.C. 7:14B, have a regulatory and mandatory timeframe for the submittal of a SI Report.

    A Summary of Regulatory and Mandatory Timeframes for Remediation is available at:
    http://www.nj.gov/dep/srp/srra/training/matrix/new_responsibilities/timeframe_req.pdf

  18. I have completed my regulated UST removal and UST discharge remedial investigation in one year. Do I need to submit a Preliminary Assessment (PA)/Site Investigation (SI) Form and SI Report if I am submitting a Remedial Investigation (RI) and Remedial Action (RA) Report within one year?

    With all regulated UST closures, a SI Report is a required remedial phase document. If the RI is complete (i.e., contamination is fully delineated in all media) but the RA is not complete, submit the Remedial Investigation Report with the site investigation information included along with the completed PA/SI and RI Forms.

    If the RI and RA are complete (i.e., contamination is fully delineated and remediated in all media) and a final Remediation Document is issued, submit the Remedial Investigation and Remedial Action Reports with site investigation information included along with completed PA/SI, RI, Remedial Action Report and Response Action Outcome Forms.

  19. A discharge was discovered at my site before May 7, 1999 and the remedial investigation is not yet complete. When do I need to complete the Remedial Investigation and submit the Remedial Investigation Report (RIR) to the Department?

    For all cases where a discharge was discovered prior to May 7, 1999 and the remedial investigation has not been completed, the Remedial Investigation must be completed and the RIR must be submitted to the Department by May 7, 2014. This timeframe is established in the Site Remediation Reform Act at N.J.S.A. 58:10C-27a(3). The RIR submittal date of May 7, 2014 cannot be lengthened based on site complexity factors, and no extension requests to this timeframe can be granted since it is established by statute. The Department was not granted the authority to extend this timeframe. When the Site Remediation Reform Act was signed on May 7, 2009, this law gave responsible parties five more years to complete the RI for the entire contaminated site for any sites where discharges were discovered over 10 years earlier. Parties who fail to complete the RI by May 7, 2014 are subject to the additional requirements at N.J.A.C. 7:26C-14, Direct Oversight.

    The Department has prepared a Summary of Regulatory and Mandatory Timeframes for Remediation, which can be found on the Department's website via the following link:
    http://www.nj.gov/dep/srp/srra/training/matrix/new_responsibilities/timeframe_req.pdf

  20. What is the difference between a Responsible Party and a Person Responsible for Conducting the Remediation?

    A Responsible Party is a party that has an affirmative obligation to remediate, as defined by the Brownfield and Contaminated Sites Act, N.J.S.A. 58:10B-1.3, as stated below:

    "a. An owner or operator of an industrial establishment subject to the provisions of P.L.1983, c.330 (C.13:1K-6 et al.), the discharger of a hazardous substance or a person in any way responsible for a hazardous substance pursuant to the provisions of subsection c. of section 8 of P.L.1976, c.141 (C.58:10-23.11g), or the owner or operator of an underground storage tank regulated pursuant to the provisions of P.L.1986, c.102 (C.58:10A-21 et seq.), that has discharged a hazardous substance, shall remediate the discharge of a hazardous substance."

    A Person Responsible for Conducting the Remediation includes all parties who are conducting remediation, regardless of their liability status. This reference includes those who may not have liability but who are conducting remediation as well as Responsible Parties who have an affirmative obligation to remediate. A Person Responsible for Conducting the Remediation is defined by SRRA, N.J.S.A. 58:10C-2, as stated below:

    "Person responsible for conducting the remediation" means (1) any person who executes or is otherwise subject to an oversight document to remediate a contaminated site, (2) the owner or operator of an industrial establishment subject toP.L.1983, c.330 (C.13:1K-6 et al.), for the remediation of a discharge, (3) the owner or operator of an underground storage tank subject to P.L.1986, c.102 (C.58:10A-21et seq.), for the remediation of a discharge, (4) any other person who discharges a hazardous substance or is in any way responsible for a hazardous substance, pursuant to section 8 of P.L.1976, c.141 (C.58:10-23.11g), that was discharged at a contaminated site, or (5) any other person who is remediating a site.

  21. If I am a Responsible Party (RP), and another RP for the same site retains a Licensed Site Remediation Professional (LSRP), do I continue to have an affirmative obligation to remediate if the case is out of compliance?

    Answer:
    Yes. If you are a RP, you remain an RP forever. Your obligation to conduct remediation continues until the remediation has been completed and an unrestricted use final remediation document has been issued for the entire site or area of concern, even if another party is actively remediating. Your obligation as a responsible party also continues if a remediation standard to which you remediated changes by an order of magnitude.

    A site can have multiple RPs who have an affirmative obligation to remediate. If one of the RPs is remediating but falls out of compliance, all RPs may be subject to enforcement. If you are responsible for conducting remediation at a site where another party is conducting remediation it is in your best interest to closely monitor compliance in order to avoid being named on an enforcement action.

Enforcement Questions

  1. My case has been referred to enforcement. Does that mean I will have to pay penalties?

    Once a matter has been referred for enforcement the enforcement manager proceeds with preparing the enforcement action, including the assessment of civil administrative penalties pursuant to N.J.A.C. 7:26C-9. Even after the case has been referred for enforcement, parties should continue to work toward compliance and keep the enforcement manager apprised of progress. Achieving compliance may influence whether the document is issued, may mitigate the amount of the penalty assessed and, if the document is issued, puts the responsible party in the best position to settle the penalty.

  2. I received an enforcement action. What should I do? Can I obtain an extension?

    Once an enforcement action has been issued it is too late to request an extension. If the document indicates that the violator has a right to a hearing, and if the violator desires to exercise that right, the violator should promptly submit their hearing request by following the instructions provided. Parties responsible for conducting remediation and their LSRPs should remain aware of regulatory and mandatory timeframes that apply at their site. If concern arises that a deadline may be missed the party should submit an extension request, in accordance with procedures at N.J.A.C. 7:26C-3.2, at least 30 days (for regulatory timeframes) or 60 days (for mandatory timeframes) prior to the deadline. While requests for extensions to regulatory timeframes which are timely and complete are usually granted, the Department is limited by law to granting extensions to mandatory timeframes to only specific circumstances.

    Although it may be too late to seek an extension, it is never too late to work toward compliance. Parties who correct violations promptly while their enforcement action is pending a hearing put themselves in the best position to settle the matter and avoid additional costs, including both legal fees and additional penalties that continue to accrue for each day of noncompliance.

  3. What is the difference between a minor and non-minor violation?

    Minor violations are those violations for which the Department will allow a period of time (a grace period) to correct the violations prior to the assessment of penalties provided: 1) the violation is not the result of a purposeful, knowing, reckless or criminally negligent conduct of the party responsible for the violation, 2) the act or condition constituting the violation has existed less than 12 months from discovery, 3) the party responsible for the violation has not been identified in a previous enforcement action as responsible for the same violation within the preceding 12 months, and 4) the party responsible has not been identified as responsible for the same or similar violations that indicates a matter of illegal conduct. Non-minor violations are violations for which the Department may assess a penalty without allowing a grace period for the correction of the violation prior to the assessment of penalties. N.J.A.C. 7:26C-10.3 and 10.4 outline the definition of minor and non-minor violations and establish the type of violation for select citations within the ISRA Rule at N.J.A.C. 7:26B, the Administrative Requirements for the Remediation of contaminated Sites rule at N.J.A.C. 7:26C, Technical Requirements Rule at N.J.A.C. 7:26E, UST Rule at N.J.A.C. 7:14B, and Spill Act Rule at N.J.A.C. 7:1E.

  4. Can I settle my penalty before achieving compliance?

    The penalty can only be settled upon compliance with the majority of the ordered items outlined in the enforcement action. The violator and/or their LSRP or attorney should communicate progress toward compliance to the assigned BEI compliance manager who will decide when discussion of penalty settlement can begin.

  5. There are other parties who are also responsible for remediation at a site where I am conducting remediation. How can I compel those parties to participate in or help fund remediation?

    Parties who conduct remediation have a right of contribution against other responsible parties. Further, remediating parties may seek an award of treble damages against other responsible parties who have been given the opportunity to participate in remediation but who have failed to do so. One requirement for an award of treble damages is the issuance of a Spill Act Directive. You may submit a request that the Department consider issuing a Spill Act Directive by following the procedures at
    http://www.state.nj.us/dep/srp/enforcement/treble_request.htm