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Guidance Documents Public Notification & Guidance Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

 

Public Notification & Outreach Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

October 2012

The Questions

  1. Does the person responsible for conducting the remediation need to submit the Sensitive Population Checklist to the Department?
  2. Who is identified as "the person responsible for conducting the remediation"?
  3. How do I find a Preferred ID (PI #)?
  4. The current version of the Administrative Requirements for the Remediation of Contaminated Sites (N.J.A.C. 7:26C) requires notification letters to be sent or a notification sign to be posted within 14 days prior to commencing field activities associated with the remedial action (RA). Previous versions of the public notification and outreach rules required public notification to be conducted prior to the remedial investigation (RI). Which remedial phase triggers public notification?
  5. If I am the remediating party and I receive an inquiry about my site from a member of the public, do I have to respond?
  6. Does the person responsible for conducting the remediation have to notify the current occupant(s)/tenant(s) of the site?
  7. If a site is very large, but the remediation is being conducted on a small section of the site, what does the Department consider to be the “site boundary”?
  8. How can a remediating party determine if a language other than English is predominantly spoken by property owners and tenants in the area within 200 feet of the property boundary?
  9. What documentation does a remediating party have to submit to the Department, if they decide to conduct public notification by sign?
  10. What contact information is required to be posted on the sign, listed in a letter, and/or identified in the fact sheet?
  11. If the person responsible for conducting the remediation does not want to list an individual’s name as the point of contact on the sign, what alternatives are available?
  12. If the site has more than one case number or Preferred ID (PI#) number, are separate signs required, for each case number or PI#?
  13. If the remediating party chooses to provide public notice by sending notification letters, when should the letters be sent?
  14. Can notification letters be sent by using services provided by United Parcel Service (UPS) or Federal Express (FedEx)?
  15. When sending notification letters by certified mail or using the certificate of mailing service, is the remediating party required to submit return receipts to the Department?
  16. How can a remediating party identify tenants in an area?
  17. When is a remediating party required to prepare, distribute and publish a fact sheet?
  18. If contamination in ground water migrates from the property where the discharge occurred and soil contamination is present only in on-site soils, does the fact sheet need to include information about the on-site soil contamination?
  19. As part of the fact sheet, I would like to include contaminant concentration(s). What is the best way to identify contaminant concentration(s) when there are multiple rounds of sampling events that have occurred over many years? Should I include classes of chemical contaminants, or should I identify each contaminant individually?
  20. Is the remediating party required to include a description of indoor air and soil gas contamination in the fact sheet?
  21. Is the remediating party required to distribute fact sheets to owners/tenants located within 200 feet of the site boundary or 200 feet of the ground water contamination plume?
  22. Can an abbreviated version of the fact sheet be used for publication purposes?
  23. In what section of a newspaper should the fact sheet be published?
  24. Publication of the fact sheet is required in how many newspapers?
  25. Publication of the fact sheet is required in how many issues of a single newspaper?
  26. Can a remediating party place a notification letter and/or fact sheet in an apartment building lobby, rather than send it by mail?
  27. If multiple apartment buildings are located on a lot that is located within 200 feet of the site boundary, but only one of the apartment buildings is actually within 200 feet, is the remediating party required to send notification letters/fact sheets to all the tenants or just the tenants residing in the building that is located within 200 feet of the site boundary?
  28. Can a remediating party include additional wording on notification signs or in notification letters and/or fact sheets?
  29. For sites that are being remediated under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) or the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), is notification in accordance with ARRCS (N.J.A.C. 7:26C-1.7) still required?
  30. Can a remediating party provide one document to satisfy more than one public notification requirement?
  31. If a remediating party is required to submit documentation to the Department to establish a classification exception area (CEA) for ground water, do they have to comply with the public notification requirements at N.J.A.C. 7:26C-1.7 or the notification requirements associated with the CEA pursuant to N.J.A.C. 7:26C-7.3?
  32. If a remediating party has a Deed Notice with a No Further Action (NFA) letter and plans to disturb the engineering control (i.e., cap), do they have to comply with the Public Notification and Outreach rules?
  33. I am a property owner of an apartment building and I just discovered a leaking heating oil tank. Am I exempt from the public notification requirements?

The Answers

1. Does the person responsible for conducting the remediation need to submit the Sensitive Population and Resource Checklist to the Department?

No, the requirements associated with identifying and reporting sensitive populations and resources have been deleted. The information that was required to be included as part of the Sensitive Population and Resource Checklist has been incorporated into the requirements associated with the Receptor Evaluation pursuant to N.J.A.C. 7:26E-1.12 through 1.16.

Back to the Questions

2. Who is identified as the “person responsible for conducting the remediation”?

N.J.A.C. 7:26C-1.3 defines the "person responsible for conducting the remediation" (also refered to as the "remediating party") to include:

    1. Any person who executes or is otherwise subject to a memorandum of agreement, memorandum of understanding, administrative consent order, remediation agreement, or administrative order to remediate a contaminated site;
    2. The owner or operator of an industrial establishment subject to N.J.S.A. 13:1K-6 et seq. for the remediation of a discharge;
    3. The owner or operator of an underground storage tank subject to N.J.S.A. 58:10A-21 et 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 N.J.S.A. 58:10-23.11g, that was discharged at a contaminated site; or
    5. Any other person who is remediating a site.

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3. How do I find a Preferred ID (PI #)?

A PI# is unique to each case. It can be found by selecting Site Remediation's Site Search Reports, in DEP Data Miner. From the Site Search Reports, the "All SRP Sites by Selected PI Address" can be used to find the site of interest. Typically, the user only needs to enter in the street number and name (for example: 10 Main). Once the list appears, please note the PI# located in the first column.

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4. The current version of the Administrative Requirements for the Remediation of Contaminated Sites (N.J.A.C. 7:26C) requires notification letters to be sent or a notification sign to be posted within 14 days prior to commencing field activities associated with the remedial action (RA). Previous versions of the public notification and outreach rules required public notification to be conducted prior to the remedial investigation (RI). Which remedial phase triggers public notification?


The current rules state that public notification must be conducted 14 days prior to commencing field activities associated with the remedial action (RA). This change, requiring public notification at the RI to requiring public notification at the RA, was made in error and the requirement will be changed back to the RI in the next amendment package.

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5. If I am the remediating party and I receive an inquiry about my site from a member of the public, do I have to respond?

Yes, pursuant to N.J.A.C. 7:26C-1.7(o), the person responsible for conducting the remediation shall respond to public inquiries, including inquiries from the news media, either received by them directly or received by the Department and then sent to them. The Department will forward all inquiries to the person responsible for conducting the remediation and the licensed site remediation professional (LSRP) of record for the site.

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6. Does the person responsible for conducting the remediation have to notify the current occupant(s)/tenant(s) of the site?

Yes, public notification should be provided to current occupant(s)/tenant(s) of record.

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7. If a site is very large, but the remediation is being conducted on a small section of the site, what does the Department consider to be the “site boundary”?

In most cases, the site boundary is easily identified as the block and lot on the municipal tax map. In cases where the remediation is being conducted on a small subsection of an extremely large site, the remediating party and the LSRP can approve an alternative boundary for the purpose of public notification pursuant to N.J.AC. 7:26C-1.7(n).

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8. How can a remediating party determine if a language other than English is predominantly spoken by property owners and tenants in the area within 200 feet of the property boundary?

The Department anticipates that most remediating parties are already aware of whether a language other than English is predominantly spoken in the neighborhoods surrounding their sites. Common signs in another language can be an indication of an alternative language. If the person responsible for conducting the remediation is unsure whether property owners and tenants speak a language other than English, they may choose to contact the municipality for guidance and information.

Information about the percentage of people speaking languages other than English in a given area is available by accessing census information at http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/nav/jsf/pages/index.xhtml.

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9. What documentation does a remediating party have to submit to the Department, if they decide to conduct public notification by sign?

To document compliance a remediating party must submit a photograph of the notification sign and the Public Notification and Outreach form in the subsequent applicable remedial phase report.

A photograph of the notification sign must be submitted to the municipal clerk of each municipality in which the site is located and the county health department and the local health agency within 14 days prior to commencing field activities associated with the remedial investigation.

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10. What contact information is required to be posted on the sign, listed in a letter, and/or identified in the fact sheet?

Contact information for the person responsible for conducting the remediation and the name and telephone number for the licensed site remediation professional (LSRP) of record for the site must be included in all forms of notification. Contact information for the Department’s Office of Community Relations must NOT be included.

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11. If the person responsible for conducting the remediation does not want to list an individual's name as the point of contact on the sign, what alternatives are available?

The person responsible for conducting the remediation can list the title of the point of contact for the site together with the name of the site. For example, one can list “Project Manager for the XYZ Chemical Company Site” on the sign, as the point of contact.

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12. If the site has more than one case number or Preferred ID (PI#) number, are separate signs required, for each case number or PI#?

No, separate signs are not required; however, the point(s) of contact for each PI# must be clearly stated on the sign, should they differ.

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13. If the remediating party chooses to provide public notice by sending notification letters, when should the letters be sent?

If a remediating party chooses to provide public notice by sending notification letters, the rules require letters to be sent at least 14 days prior to the initiation of field activities associated with the Remedial Action and every two years thereafter.

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14. Can notification letters be sent by using services provided by United Parcel Service (UPS) or Federal Express (FedEx)?

Yes, notices sent pursuant to N.J.A.C. 7:26C-1.7 may be sent using UPS or FedEx. The remediating party should retain any documentation that the delivery service provides which lists all intended recipients.

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15. When sending notification letters by certified mail or using the certificate of mailing service, is the remediating party required to submit return receipts to the Department?

When notification letters are sent using certified mail, return receipts are not required to be submitted to the Department. However, a remediating party should retain the return receipt(s) for their records, should they ever need to document that notification letters were sent. The United States Postal Service (USPS) certificate of mailing service does not provide the option of a return receipt. If the certificate of mailing service is used, the remediating party should retain any forms prepared for use by the USPS.

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16. How can a remediating party identify tenants in an area?

A remediating party may choose to contact the property owners, the municipality, or the property management company associated with the property to identify tenants. A remediating party may also use the certificate of mailing service offered by the USPS. This service is not only more cost effective, but also allows the delivery of mail to "Current Resident," if the remediating party is unable to identify individual tenants by name.

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17. When is a remediating party required to prepare, distribute and publish a fact sheet?

A remediating party must prepare and distribute a fact sheet as required by N.J.A.C. 7:26C-1.7(l)1 and 2, within two weeks after the determination that contamination in any environmental media has migrated off the property where the discharge occurred. Within 30 days of that determination, they must publish the fact sheet in a newspaper, per N.J.A.C. 7:26C-1.7(l)3. A remediating party also must update, redistribute and republish this fact sheet once the extent of off-site soil contamination has been delineated. See question 31 below for information relevant to off-site ground water contamination and when preparation and distribution of a Classification Exception Area/Well Restriction Area Fact Sheet form is required.

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18. If contamination in ground water migrates from the property where the discharge occurred and soil contamination is present only in on-site soils, does the fact sheet need to include information about the on-site soil contamination?

Yes, the remediating party is required to include information in the fact sheet about all contamination detected both on-site and off-site.

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19. As part of the fact sheet, I would like to include contaminant concentration(s). What is the best way to identify contaminant concentration(s) when there are multiple rounds of sampling events that have occurred over many years? Should I include classes of chemical contaminants, or should I identify each contaminant individually?

For most sites, the range of contaminant concentration(s) should be listed in the fact sheet. Each chemical need not be identified in fact sheets for sites that have multiple contaminants, thus identifying classes of chemical contaminants is acceptable. For example, a fact sheet can list gasoline-related constituents including but not limited to benzene, toluene and methyl tertiary butyl ether. The Department recommends focusing on the contaminant or class of contaminants that is driving the cleanup.

The fact sheet should list all contaminants, by name, with the range of concentrations detected for each for sites with 10 or less contaminants. The remediation standard for each should also be included.

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20. Is the remediating party required to include a description of indoor air and soil gas contamination in the fact sheet?

Yes, a brief description of indoor air or soil gas contamination detected should be included. Specific location information should not be listed in the fact sheet as individual property owners may not want this information widely distributed to the public.

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21. Is the remediating party required to distribute fact sheets to owners/tenants located within 200 feet of the site boundary or 200 feet of the ground water contamination plume?

The fact sheet and any updates shall be sent to each owner and tenants located within 200 feet of the site boundary. However, the Department encourages remediating parties to distribute fact sheets to owners and tenants located within 200 feet of the ground water contamination plume.

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22. Can an abbreviated version of the fact sheet be used for publication purposes?

Yes, a template for an abbreviated version of the fact sheet is available at http://www.nj.gov/dep/srp/guidance/public_notification/template_factsheet_general.doc. Please note, this abbreviated version should only be used for publishing in a newspaper. The complete fact sheet should be used when mailing to owners and tenants.

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23. In what section of a newspaper should the fact sheet be published?

The fact sheet may be published in any section of a newspaper, with the exception of the classified or legal sections.

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24. Publication of the fact sheet is required in how many newspapers?

A fact sheet is required to be published as a display advertisement in one daily or weekly newspaper of general circulation in the vicinity of the site. Please consult with township officials to determine which newspaper is most widely read in the area of the site.

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25. Publication of the fact sheet is required in how many issues of a single newspaper?

The fact sheet is only required to be published in one issue of a newspaper.

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26. Can a remediating party place a notification letter and/or fact sheet in an apartment building lobby, rather than send it by mail?

No, a letter or fact sheet cannot be posted in an apartment building lobby in lieu of mailing. A remediating party must send letters, however, they may also choose to post a letter or fact sheet in the lobby in addition to mailing.

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27. If multiple apartment buildings are located on a lot that is located within 200 feet of the site boundary, but only one of the apartment buildings is actually within 200 feet, is the remediating party required to send notification letters/fact sheets to all the tenants or just the tenants residing in the building that is located within 200 feet of the site boundary?

Notification letters, fact sheets and any updates must be sent to each owner of all real property, as shown on the current municipal tax duplicate, and the tenants of those properties, located within 200 feet of the site boundary. Therefore, all tenants that reside in buildings that are located on a tax lot, which are within 200 feet from the site boundary, must receive notification. All tenants must receive notification, irrespective of the distance from the site boundary to the actual building(s).

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28. Can a remediating party include additional wording on notification signs or in notification letters and/or fact sheets?

Yes, a remediating party may add language in addition to the required language to a notification sign, letter, or fact sheet.

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29. For sites that are being remediated under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) or the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), is notification in accordance with ARRCS (N.J.A.C. 7:26C-1.7) still required?

No, if you are in compliance with the public participation requirements applicable to sites subject to the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act and the National Contingency Plan regulations, or the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), you need not comply with the requirements of N.J.A.C. 7:26C-1.7(e) through (n).

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30. Can a remediating party provide one document to satisfy more than one public notification requirement?

Yes. For example, if a remediating party chooses to conduct public notification by letter and has determined that contamination has migrated off site, they may choose to send one fact sheet, and include all content requirements for both the letter and the fact sheet in one document.

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31. If a remediating party is required to submit documentation to the Department to establish a classification exception area (CEA) for ground water, do they have to comply with the public notification requirements at N.J.A.C. 7:26C-1.7 or the notification requirements associated with the CEA pursuant to N.J.A.C. 7:26C-7.3?

Several notification requirements of N.J.A.C. 7:26C-1.7 apply to sites that need a CEA. A remediating party must comply with N.J.A.C. 7:26C-1.7(h)2, either by maintaining the sign or sending updated notification letters every two years to owners and tenants located within 200 feet of the site boundary, until the required remediation is completed and the final remediation document is filed with the Department.

While the remediating party must distribute and publish a fact sheet pursuant to N.J.A.C. 7:26C-1.7(l)1-3 after contamination in any media has migrated off-site, they only have to update, redistribute and republish the fact sheet pursuant to N.J.A.C. 7:26C-1.7(l)4, 90 days after off-site soil contamination has been delineated. N.J.A.C. 7:26C-1.7(l)5 states that for ground water contamination, the CEA notification requirements of N.J.A.C. 7:26C-7.3 are applicable.

A completed CEA/Well Restriction Area (WRA) Fact Sheet form must be used to comply with the public notifications required by N.J.A.C. 7:26C-7.3. As indicated at N.J.A.C. 7:26C-7.3(a)4, these notifications must be done prior to submitting all the CEA documentation to the Department and after ground water contamination is delineated. All CEA documentation, the form and associated attachments (i.e., exhibits) must be submitted to the Department (this includes the Remedial Investigation Report) but pursuant to N.J.A.C. 7:26C-7.3(d) a copy of only the completed CEA/WRA Fact Sheet form must be sent to the applicable local, county or regional entities and to all owners of real property overlying the CEA in order to notify them of the proposed CEA. The Department recommends sending the Exhibit B CEA maps with that copy of the form. This notification process applies regardless of whether or not ground water contamination has migrated off-site.

Also, please be advised that biennial notification requirements associated with ground water remedial action permits are listed at N.J.A.C. 7:26C-7.9(c). Specifically, they include submitting the results of the remedial action protectiveness determination on a form found on the Department's website at www.nj.gov/dep/srp/srra/forms to the following:

    1. The municipal and county clerk
    2. The local, county and regional health department
    3. The county planning board
    4. The Pinelands Commission if the ground water classification exception area will be located within the jurisdiction of that Commission
    5. Each owner of any real property that will be within the footprint of the ground water classification exception area
    6. Each permittee listed on the permit.

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32. If a remediating party has a Deed Notice with a No Further Action (NFA) letter and plans to disturb the engineering control, do they have to comply with the Public Notification and Outreach rules?

If a remediating party plans to disturb an engineering control on a site with a Deed Notice and an NFA, they should comply with the Public Notification and Outreach rules if the disruption will exceed 60 days or if the disruption will result in a permanent change to the engineering control.

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33. I am a property owner of an apartment building and I just discovered a leaking heating oil tank. Am I exempt from the public notification requirements?

Yes, remediation of all unregulated heating oil tank discharges are exempt from these requirements.

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