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NJDEP Updates Soil Remediation Standards


March 29, 2018
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The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) Recently Updated the Soil Remediation Standards

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) recently updated the soil remediation standards for 19 contaminants to reflect U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) revisions to the toxicity criteria for these compounds. The updated soil remediation standards took effect on September 18, 2017.

NJDEP Updates Soil Remediation Standards

Photo courtesy of Aya Okawa (Unsplash.com)

The New Jersey Remediation Standards define the acceptable default levels of certain contaminants that can be present in soil. They are based on the EPA’s carcinogenic (or cancer) slope factor or non-carcinogenic (or non-cancer) reference dose data for these compounds, contained in the Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) database. The Remediation Standards establish minimum soil remediation standards, including both residential direct contact soil remediation standards; and non-residential direct contact soil remediation standards.

Pursuant to N.J.A.C. 7:26D-4.2, the residential direct contact soil remediation standard for each contaminant is the more stringent of either the ingestion-dermal human health-based criterion or the inhalation human health-based criterion, or the “practical quantitation level” (PQL) if the PQL is less stringent than the corresponding human health-based criterion. Similarly, N.J.A.C. 7:26D-4.3 establishes that, for each contaminant, the non-residential direct contact soil remediation standard is the more stringent of either the ingestion-dermal human health-based criterion or the inhalation human health-based criterion, or the PQL, if the PQL is less stringent than the corresponding human health-based criterion.

New Soil Remediation Standard 

In total, 19 contaminants are impacted by New Jersey’s new soil remediation standards. Below is a brief summary of the changes:

  • The soil remediation standards for the following 11 contaminants are now less stringent: Benzo(a)Anthracene, Benzo(a) Pyrene, Benzo(b)Fluoranthene, Benzo(k)Fluoranthene, Chrysene, Dibenz(ah)Anthracene, Indeno(123-cd)Pyrene, Carbon Tetrachloride, Methylene Chloride, Tetrachloroethene, and 1,1,1-Trichloroethane.
  • The soil remediation standards for 6 contaminants are now more stringent: Hexachloroethane, Nitrobenzene, Pentachlorophenol, Trichloroethene, 1,1-Biphenyl, and Cyanide.
  • The soil remediation standard for 1,1,2,2- Tetrachloroethane is unchanged.
  • Thallium will no longer be regulated.

Given its frequent presence in urban and industrialized sites, the most notable change is the revised parameters for benzo[a]pyrene. The less stringent standard should make it easier for land developers and other parties to remediate sites containing the contaminant.

Phase-In of Updated Standards

The NJDEP has advised that entities responsible for conducting the remediation may continue to remediate a site using soil remediation standards in effect prior to September 18, 2017, provided the updated remediation standard is not an order of magnitude or more lower than the pre-September 18, 2017 remediation standard, and if the following conditions exist:

  1. The site being remediated has either: an existing Remedial Action Workplan or Remedial Action Report approved by the NJDEP, or an existing Remedial Action Workplan or Remedial Action Report certified by a licensed site remediation professional (LSRP) and that has been submitted to the agency. OR
  2. The site being remediated will have by March 18, 2018 either: a Remedial Action Workplan or Remedial Action Report approved by the NJDEP, or a Remedial Action Workplan or Remedial Action Report certified by an LSRP and submitted to the agency.

If you have any questions or if you would like to discuss the matter further, please contact me, Dan McKillop, at 201-806-3364.

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