Date: February 11, 2021Attorney: Douglas I. Eilender

To supplement our prior Environmental Blog Article on this topic, on February 8, 2021, the newly appointed Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (“NJDEP”), Shawn M. LaTourette, announced a new Notice of Rule Waiver/Modification/Suspension (“Interim Rule Modification”), as part of NJDEP’s Executive Order No. 103 Notices (In EO 103, Governor Murphy declared a Public Health Emergency and State of Emergency due to COVID-19) that further extends various remediation timeframes that were granted in April and August of 2020. The prior interim rule modifications extended certain deadlines arising in the Administrative Requirements for Site Remediation of Contaminated Sites, N.J.A.C. 7:26C, the Technical Requirements for Site Remediation, N.J.A.C. 7:26E, and Heating Oil Tank System Remediation Rules, N.J.A.C. 7:26F, subject to certain requirements, for a total of 270 days.

The Interim Rule Modification extends certain timeframes that have been and will be reached during the period in which EO 103 is in effect for a total of 455 days (including the prior 270 day extension). Additionally, NJDEP Site Remediation Program cases that are subject to statutory timeframes set forth in the Site Remediation Reform Act, including timeframes contained within an administrative consent order, requiring remedial action be complete by May 6, 2021 have been extended for 1 year until May 6, 2022.

The timeframes extended by the Interim Rule Modification are limited to reporting requirements only and must not be construed to extend any timeframes for the mitigation of immediate impacts to human receptors. The Interim Rule Modification states that remedial activities are continuing during the declared Public Health Emergency and State of Emergency and protections for public health and safety and the environment remain in place.

However, in order to qualify for the referenced extensions, 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. Further, any party responsible for conducting remediation may request a further extension of the referenced timeframes or other applicable remediation timeframes, which the NJDEP shall consider on a site-specific basis in accordance with the provisions of ARRCS, N.J.A.C. 7:26C or the Technical Requirements, N.J.A.C. 7:26E.

Please reach out to one of our environmental attorneys for assistance in determining whether the deadlines for a remediation project have been extended by NJDEP’s Interim Rule Modification.