Businesses that buy, sell and develop commercial property in New Jersey are more likely than not to encounter environmental concerns. Under the Site Remediation Reform Act (SRRA), which went into effect in 2009, private sector Licensed Site Remediation Professionals (LSRPs) have assumed the primary responsibility for initiating and completing the assessment and cleanup of contaminated sites. This approach has proven to be effective for both state agencies and property owners, and in just a few short years LSRPs have become integral to New Jersey’s environmental remediation process.
The program requires responsible parties to retain an LSRP where remediation has been mandated. Together they set project milestones, and after completion of environmental remediation the LSRP issues a Response Action Outcome (RAO) to signal to the NJDEP that the necessary work has been finalized. AESI came in on the ground floor of the program and its LSRPs were among the first individuals to be issued the LSRP license in New Jersey. To date, we have closed 150 LSRP matters and the firm has 347 total LSRP projects.
Site remediation is heavily regulated with a host of environmental requirements, and being in compliance is essential. No matter how small or large the project, our team works closely with the NJDEP and owner to ensure that all requirements are met. As transaction-oriented environmental consultants, we expedite site cleanup as quickly as possible to help our clients facilitate deals – without compromising the quality of the work product. This sets AESI apart from other environmental consulting firms.
Our value add continues long after an RAO has been issued. Changes have been made to SRRA – referred to as “SRRA 2.0” – which was signed by Gov. Murphy and will be effective January 1, 2020. These include the requirement that an LSRP must be retained for the life of any Remedial Action Permit (RAP) issued by the NJDEP. RAPs for soil or groundwater provide ongoing obligations for monitoring and reporting of any remaining contamination at a specific site.
For example, when remedial action involves the installation of engineering controls and issuance of a Soil Remedial Action Permit by the NJDEP, AESI contracts with clients to conduct the required monitoring and maintenance of engineering and institutional controls. While the specific requirements listed in the permit may differ from project to project, all RAPs require biennial reporting according to the established permit schedule.
Essentially, the NJDEP wants to ensure that there are no changes to the property that would damage or disrupt the controls that have been put in place to prevent people from being at risk of exposure to contamination. Caps such as a building foundation, cement or asphalt, or clean fill, must be inspected regularly; if the inspection reveals cracks in the foundation, broken asphalt or insufficient fill, we work with property owners to take corrective action and file the necessary paperwork confirming that the property is being maintained in accordance with the permit.
Meeting the state’s requirements also means permits must be updated if there are any changes in property ownership. Should the owner decide to sell the property to someone else, or initiate a partnership change or other major transaction, AESI’s LSRPs can advise them as to what rules apply and what actions need to be taken. While this often involves plenty of red tape, we have the knowledge and expertise to expedite the process quickly and accurately.
Our clients can be assured of receiving red carpet treatment regardless of the environmental issue they are dealing with. In the case of RAPs – many of which remain in place for more than 30 years – it is our responsibility to inspect and maintain controls, provide guidance to clients on how to comply with New Jersey’s strict requirements, and handle all communications and paperwork.
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 is completed within the confines of complex rules and regulations. AESI is committed to providing high quality and pragmatic environmental due diligence and remediation solutions to protect customer assets and reduce liability, while helping to protect our state’s natural resources and improve the quality of life for residents.