The NJ Spill Compensation Fund Claims Program (Spill Fund)
ECA-Spill Fund Background
In July 1987, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) created the Environmental Claims Administration (ECA), part of the Bureau of Contract and Fund Management. The ECA is responsible for administering the New Jersey Spill Compensation Fund Claims Program, created by the New Jersey Spill Compensation and Control Act, N.J.S.A. 58:10-23.11 et seq., effective April 1, 1977.
A courtesy copy of the rules and regulations governing the filing and processing of Spill Fund claims can be viewed and downloaded at http://www.nj.gov/dep/srp/regs/spillfund/spillfund_rule.pdf. Damage claims are paid by the NJDEP through the Spill Fund to compensate innocent victims of hazardous substance discharges.
The Spill Fund provides critical environmental relief to citizens, businesses and other entities within the State and is unique to New Jersey. Revenues for the Spill Fund are obtained from a tax levied on the petroleum and chemical industries by the State of New Jersey.
The ECA’s primary Spill Fund responsibilities are to investigate, analyze and process environmental impairment claims, which are predominantly related to potable well contamination. The ECA also provides technical support for claimants and vendors regarding installation, monitoring and maintenance of Point-of-Entry Treatment (POET) systems.
Spill Fund Claim Process
he Environmental Claims Administration (ECA) evaluates claims for damages filed against the Spill Fund. If eligible, the ECA authorizes compensation from the Spill Fund to individuals, businesses and government units that have suffered direct or indirect damages from the discharge of petroleum products or other hazardous substances. These damages include, but are not limited to, the cost of treating, restoring or replacing water supplies and damages to real estate and/or personal property.
Potential claimants may contact the ECA to request the Spill Fund Application or download it from this website. They must then complete the application, attach all required additional documentation, such as laboratory reports and work estimates, and submit all materials to the ECA by mail. The “Guidelines for Completing a Spill Fund Claim Application”, which aids homeowners in completing claims for damages related to contaminated potable wells, is also available for download. Once received by the ECA, the claim application and supporting materials are reviewed for completeness and the claims are assigned a claim number.
Claimants must meet all of the requirements stated in the rules and regulations in order to qualify for compensation. In all cases, a potential claimant has one year from the date he or she discovers the damage (for example, when homeowner receives private well water results that do not meet NJ Standards) to submit a claim application to the ECA. The Spill Act does not authorize compensation for damages related to naturally occurring hazardous substances or discharges which occurred prior to the Act’s effective date (April 1, 1977), except for damages related to private well contamination.
Potable well contamination often requires the treatment of the existing well using a POET system or connection to the public water supply, if available. The extension and/or installation of new water supply sources may also be an option. For eligible POET claims, the ECA authorizes compensation for the installation of a POET system, and for ongoing POET maintenance and monitoring services, as long as the claimant remains the owner of the property. Private and public water purveyors (Water Supply System Claims) are not eligible for maintenance and monitoring costs.
All claimants receive a written decision once their claim has been evaluated, stating claim eligibility or denial and providing an explanation for the decision as well as any applicable guidance.
RECENT MODIFICATIONS TO SPILL FUND ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS:
Please be advised that as of March 2, 2009, due to an amendment modifying the Spill Fund claim rules and regulations, the purchaser of a property on which a POET system was installed and maintained at the expense of the Spill Fund is not eligible for compensation for ongoing POET maintenance and monitoring costs. The seller of a property on which a POET has been installed and maintained at the expense of the Spill Fund shall notify the Department in writing within 30 days of executing a binding contract of sale for that property.
Spill Fund Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- Spill Fund FAQs Posted 3 March 2010
This document may answer many of the questions potential or current claimants may have concerning the Spill Fund.
For Water Treatment Professionals and Certified Water Testing Laboratories
ECA CONTACT INFORMATION
General Questions: (609) 777-0101
Fax: (609) 292-4401
Mailing Address: ECA/Spill Fund
PO Box 413
Trenton, NJ 08625-0413
Bureau Chief: Frank Pinto