Remediation Time Frame Questions Answered
Monday, May 11, 2020 01:07 PM

Two areas associated with site specific remediation time frames continue to be a source of confusion for LSRPs and their clients:  the remedial action (RA) regulatory time frame at sites that received a statutory RI extension to May 2016, and complexity lengthening during the remedial investigation.

Remedial Action Time Frames at Sites with a Statutory RI Extension to May 7, 2016

The 2009 Site Remediation Reform Act (SRRA) required that the remedial investigation (RI) for all sites with remediation triggering events prior to May 7, 1999, be completed by May 7, 2014.  In January 2014, SRRA was amended to allow a person responsible for conducting remediation (PRCR) at these sites to apply for a two-year extension to the statutory deadline for completing the remedial investigation, provided certain conditions were met and maintained.

Through amendments to the Technical Requirements for Site Remediation in August 2018 (N.J.A.C. 7:26E-5.8), the NJDEP clarified the regulatory time frames for the completion of the RA for sites that obtained this two-year extension to the statutory RI time frame. Remediation of discharges resulting in contamination to soil only were to be completed by May 7, 2019. Remediation of discharges resulting in contamination to other media are to be completed by May 7, 2021 (N.J.A.C. 7:26E-5.8). The mandatory time frame for these sites is two years after the regulatory time frame.

LSRPs should also be aware that for sites subject to the May 7, 2021, RA regulatory time frame, the regulatory time frame extension process outlined in the Administrative Requirements for the Remediation of Contaminated Sites rule is available. The extension opportunity for sites subject to the May 7, 2019, time frame has already passed.

Complexity Lengthening for Remedial Investigations

As required by SRRA, the Technical Requirements for Site Remediation (N.J.A.C. 7:26E-4.10(b)) contains complexity provisions to lengthen the time frame when performing an RI at a contaminated site. There are six distinct complexity factors, placed within the rule in three groups of two factors each. Both factors in a given group do not need to be met in order to lengthen the RI regulatory time frame.

If at least one of the complexity factors in a group exists at a contaminated site, the regulatory time frame for completing the RI may be lengthened by one year. If you had at least one factor at your site from all three groups, the regulatory time frame could be lengthened by a maximum of three years.

The Technical Requirements for Site Remediation also contains a lengthening provision for a PRCR not required to remediate under ISRA but who elects to remediate the entire site. A PRCR pursuing an entire site response action outcome under these conditions may lengthen the regulatory time frame to complete the RI by one year.

To lengthen a regulatory time frame, notice must be given to the NJDEP no later than 30 days prior to the established RI regulatory timeframe. By default, this provision also lengthens the RI mandatory time frame and the RA regulatory and mandatory time frames.

By contrast, an extension for any given regulatory or mandatory time frame (as opposed to a lengthened time frame) does not affect any subsequent time frame. As such, LSRPs should advise a PRCR to avail themselves to the lengthening provisions in the rules, as needed, when approaching the RI regulatory time frame prior to seeking an extension of the time frame pursuant to the Administrative Requirements for Site Remediation.