The 2009 Site Remediation Reform Act (SRRA) essentially privatized the oversight of site remediations in the State by creating a class of professionals known as Licensed Site Remediation Professionals (LSRPs). Pursuant to SRRA and its implementing regulations, LSRPs replaced NJDEP site remediation case managers, and they are retained by persons conducting site cleanups to develop and oversee remediation efforts and issue final remediation approvals.
Over the last several years, LSRPs, the regulated community, and other stakeholders identified elements within the regulations governing the licensing and performance of LSRPs that required amendment. The New Jersey Site Remediation Professional Licensing Board proposed new regulations to address this issue in early 2015, and the new regulations became effective on January 4, 2016.
Several elements of the new regulations are designed to clarify LSRPs’ administrative responsibilities. For example, the regulations make clear that LSRPs are to retain their remediation records for ten years following the later of the date that the LSRP submits a notification of his/her dismissal to the NJDEP or the date that the LSRP issues his or her last remediation approval for a particular site.
Other elements of the new regulations may impact LSRPs’ conduct of remediations and the relationship between LSRPs and their clients, as they appear to prioritize LSRPs’ responsibility to safeguard public health and safety and the environment above all other considerations. For example, the regulations require that LSRPs notify the NJDEP if they learn of “a client’s action or decision that results in a deviation from the remedial action workplan or other report concerning the remediation,” or if they learn of “material facts, data, or other information subsequent to the completion of a report concerning any phase of remediation, which would result in a report with material differences from the report submitted… even if the client discharges the LSRP, or the LSRP discharges himself or herself, prior to providing the notification.” The new regulations also require LSRPs who obtain specific knowledge of a previously unreported discharge at a contaminated site for which they are responsible to immediately notify their client, the NJDEP, and any other LSRP that is working on the contaminated site of the discharge, provided the client is not performing a preliminary assessment or site investigation as a component of pre-purchase due diligence.
The above is only a sampling of the clarifications and enhancements contained in the new LSRP regulations, which are set forth at N.J.A.C. 7:26I. LSRPs and persons who are or will be conducting site cleanups should remain alert to news and developments regarding application and interpretation of these new regulations in 2016.