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NJDEP Further Extends Certain Timeframes for Remediation Activities, Including the Upcoming Mandatory Remedial Action Timeframe

Posted: 02/09/2021
Services: Environmental

On February 8, 2021, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection announced a Notice of Rule Waiver/Modification/Suspension, pursuant to Executive Order 103 (which declared a Public Health Emergency and State of Emergency), further extending certain remediation timeframes based on the unprecedented circumstances presented by the COVID-19 pandemic (“Temporary Rule Modification”). Perhaps most significantly, this Temporary Rule Modification grants a one-year extension to the May 2021 Remedial Action timeframe under the Site Remediation Reform Act (“SRRA”).

Notices of Rule Waiver/Modification/Suspension dated April 24, 2020 and August 17, 2020 previously extended certain timeframes for completion of remediation activities set forth in the Administrative Requirements for the Remediation of Contaminated Sites (ARRCS), N.J.A.C. 7:26C, the Technical Requirements for Site Remediation, N.J.A.C. 7:26E, and the Heating Oil Tank System Remediation Rules, N.J.A.C. 7:26F, for a total of two hundred seventy (270) days. It was unclear whether the extensions granted by the prior Notices of Rule Waiver/Modification/Suspension applied to sites that were subject to SRRA’s statutory remedial investigation deadline and which had a remedial action timeframe of May 2021.

The Temporary Rule Modification serves to:

  1. extend certain timeframes that have been and will be reached during the period which EO 103 remains in effect for a total of four hundred and fifty-five (455) days (inclusive of the prior 270-day extension) and correspondingly extend subsequent remediation timeframes; and
  2. for remediations subject to the statutory timeframes set forth in SRRA at N.J.S.A. 58:10C-27 and 27.1, requiring completion of the remedial investigation by either May 7, 2014 or May 7, 2016, including where the timeframes are set forth in an Administrative Consent Order, and the timeframe to complete the remedial action (whether regulatory or mandatory) has not yet passed, the Temporary Rule Modification expressly extends the timeframe to complete the remedial action from May 6, 2021 to May 6, 2022. 

The timeframes extended by this Temporary Rule Modification are limited to reporting requirements and do not extend any timeframes for the mitigation of immediate impacts to human receptors. To qualify for extension, the person responsible for conducting the remediation must have retained a licensed site remediation professional pursuant to N.J.A.C. 7:26C-2.3. 

The Temporary Rule Modification is effective as of February 1, 2021, and will be published in the March 1, 2021 New Jersey Register.