Over the past several months, there has been much discussion within the DEP Interested Party Steering Committee regarding various aspects of reporting related to the application of technical guidance. Various concepts were brought forth regarding the use of “deviation” from guidance (versus “variance” from regulations) and others. The DEP has now issued some general guidance on how to apply technical guidance, which is now available on the SRP guidance page at http://www.nj.gov/dep/srp/guidance/
The following comments were prepared by Nick DeRose, President of LSRPA, to provide some background on the changes that were inaugurated in large measure due to LSRPA members and associates who sit on the Steering Committee.
“Regarding the use of guidance, there is a level of documentation required; however, the focus is on addressing protection of human health and the environment and not having to document why an LSRP did not follow NJDEP guidance in every particular. This is consistent with SRRA and I believe appropriate to expect from the LSRP. “
“This is very consistent with SRRA and is the best language I have seen to meet the intent of what we requested. For example the language in SRRA states...”
‘When there is no specific requirement provided by the technical standards for site remediation adopted by the department, and guidelines issued by the department are not appropriate or necessary, in the professional judgment of the licensed site remediation professional, to meet the remediation requirements listed in paragraph (1) of this subsection, the licensed site remediation professional may use the following additional guidelines to make decisions regarding a remediation, and shall set forth justification for such use, in the relevant submittal: ....’
“This poorly worded language (note inclusion of 'and') could have been interpreted very narrowly by the Department to restrict the use of non-NJDEP guidance. But the Department chose to read the intent of the law and use their interpretation to move the LSRP program forward. I think this is a very important and deliberate step in the right direction and is the best for which we could have hoped.”
“Also, NJDEP removed an earlier reference that would have required detailed explanations to justify deviating from each and every section of each applicable guidance document, thereby relieving a potentially huge burden.”
“So, go forth, use guidance and prosper…”