In New Jersey, buyers and sellers of a wide range of properties encounter serious environmental concerns, from leaking underground storage tanks to buried industrial waste, poor quality fill material, historic PCB usage and spills. The volume of contaminated sites coupled with increased demand for efficient cleanup has led to sweeping changes in the way site remediation is handled throughout the state.
The Site Remediation Reform Act (SRRA), which went into effect in 2009, shifted the responsibility for initiating and completing most remediation projects from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) to private sector Licensed Site Remediation Professionals (LSRPs). AESI’s founder, Michael Novak, was one of the first individuals to be issued an LSRP license in New Jersey. As a transaction-based environmental consulting firm, we were accustomed to performing remediation and consulting services on a rapid basis to facilitate a deal, and we had success interacting with the NJDEP on fast-turnaround projects.
With multiple LSRPs on staff, today AESI has 327 LSRP projects in total, ranking us high among environmental firms statewide, and our team has closed 147 LSRP matters with Response Action Outcome (RAO) letters.
Crafting Cost-Effective, Timely Remediation Plans
Approximately 60 percent of our firm’s workload is generated by environmental due diligence and soil and groundwater remediation services. Our LSRPs work with clients to investigate and remediate properties, and Areas of Concern (AOCs) must achieve full compliance with the NJDEP Technical Requirements, multiple guidance documents and Remediation standards. Transaction speed is a key consideration, and helping our customers quickly attain full compliance is our top priority.
One of the hallmarks of our work is the methodology we use when strategizing a remediation plan that is both cost effective and timely for clients. Issuance of RAOs signals the work has been done for the NJDEP, and this is what everyone wants. However, there are many ways to clean up contamination while utilizing the NJDEP’s methods for closing sites.
A Focus on Industrial, CRE Transaction Market
The volume of AESI’s production reflects our firm’s location in Hudson County and our focus on the industrial and commercial real estate transaction market. While many former industrial facilities are redeveloped as warehouses or distribution centers, just as many also become residential developments, parks, schools and day care facilities.
Remediation of these sites is heavily regulated and the work must meet an extremely high standard. Working closely with regulators to ensure safe and clean spaces, our team has helped transform several hundred industrial properties into residential apartment buildings, condominium complexes, day care centers, schools and other sensitive end-uses
Transit villages are another substantial source of work under the LSRP program. Soil and groundwater contamination are common issues for residential or mixed-use development projects built along rail lines and on sites that historically served non-residential or industrial purposes. Our remediation plans are tailored to specific site conditions, and remedies include traditional excavation and disposal programs as well as subsurface injections with amendments that destroy contaminates in ground.
Returning Contaminated Sites to Beneficial Use
Since the LSRP program was fully launched in May 2012, the NJDEP reported that the number of cases closed rose from 1,200 to 7,500 by the end of 2015. This number surpassed 10,000 in 2017 and is on pace to reach 12,000 this year.
By utilizing the knowledge and expertise of environmental professionals, the NJDEP is returning contaminated sites to beneficial use and providing assurance to owners that the work meets complex rules and regulations. Most importantly, firms like AESI are helping to protect our state’s natural resources and improve the quality of life for businesses and residents.