NJDEP Adopts Remediation Standards

NJDEP Adopts Remediation Standards

On June 2, 2008, the NJDEP adopted new Remediation Standards (N.J.A.C. 7:9D) to implement the provisions of the Brownfield and Contaminated Site Remediation Act (N.J.S.A. 58:10B-12).  The Remediation Standards establish the minimum standards for the remediation of contaminated soil, groundwater, and/or surface water.  The NJDEP also readopted the Technical Requirements for Site Remediation with amendments including the New Remediation Standards.

Under the NJDEP’s Remediation Standards, minimum residential direct contact and non-residential direct contact soil remediation standards have been established to replace the previous Soil Cleanup Criteria, dated May 12, 1999.  In a change from the proposed rules, the NJDEP did not adopt the minimum impact to ground water soil remediation standards in the new Remediation Standards.  According to the NJDEP, the impact to groundwater will be developed on a site-by-site basis with a new guidance manuals being issued.  With regards to the groundwater and surface water standards, the NJDEP is applying the standards from those rules that have previously been adopted under N.J.A.C. 7:9C and N.J.A.C. 7:9B, respectively.

The new Remediation Standards could have far reaching implications depending on the site and contaminants of concern.  The NJDEP will institute a six month grace period for the implementation of the Remediation Standards.  The cut-off date for the grace period is December 2, 2008.  After that date, a contaminated site must have an approved remedial action workplan or remedial action report and the change in standard for the contaminants of concern from the old soil cleanup criteria to the new Remediation Standard cannot be an order of magnitude or more.  Furthermore, owners of any sites previously remediated with institutional controls (Deed Notices) will be required to compare the concentrations of contaminants of concern left in place in the soil with the new Remediation Standards in their next biennial certification.  If there is a change in standard from the old soil cleanup criteria to the new Remediation Standard that is an order of magnitude or more, then the owner must evaluate the protectiveness of human health and the environment and if necessary, remediate additional areas.

The following are some notable changes to the Remediation Standards:

  • Several of the residential standards for semivolatile organic compounds have changed such as decreases for benzo(a)pyrene; benzo(a)anthracene and benzo(b)flouranthene.  The most notable are orders of magnitude or more changes in anthracene from 100,000 mg/kg to 17,000 mg/kg and naphthalene from 230 mg/kg to 6 mg/kg.
  • There are no changes of an order of magnitude or more for metals except for thallium which changed from 1,000 mg/kg to 5 mg/kg.    There have been several increases in the standards for metals such as antimony, beryillium, copper, cadmium, mercury, nickel, silver and zinc.  The Remediation Standards have decreased for selenium and vanadium.
  • There are semivolatile compounds (acenaphthylene; benzo(g,h,i)perylene and phenanthrene)  and metals (cobalt and manganese) where the non-residential standards are higher than the residential standards due to the assumptions used to calculate the standards by the NJDEP.  In these instances, the non-residential standards assume inhalation exposure due to dust generated by truck traffic on a non-residential site as opposed to an ingestion exposure on a residential site.
  • There have been several changes to volatile organic compounds such as decreases in the residential standards for benzene, TCE, PCE and vinyl chloride and increases in the ethylbenzene, toluene and xylenes residential standards.  Formerly, the impact to groundwater soil cleanup criteria for volatile organic compounds was the lowest of the criteria for soil and used to establish remediation goals.  The NJDEP will now establish site specific impact to groundwater soil standards on a case by case basis.  Marathon cautions establishing remediation objectives using the new Remediation Standards for volatile organic compounds without considering potential impacts to groundwater.  The NJDEP is in the process of releasing guidance documents for the establishment of impact to groundwater standards.
  • There are several minor changes to the residential standards for contaminants typically associated with agricultural sites such as a change in the arsenic standard from 20 milligrams per kilogram (“mg/kg”) to 19 mg/kg; and a change in the dieldrin standard from 0.042 mg/kg to 0.040 mg/kg.  There are other changes to organochlorine pesticides; however, none are an order of magnitude or more, with some actually being increased (toxaphene from 0.1 mg/kg to 0.6 mg/kg).

The new rules can be found at  http://www.nj.gov/dep/srp/regs/rs/rs_rule.pdf.  For more information on the new Remediation Standards, please contact Bob Carter of our Swedesboro office at Bob.carter@marathonconsultants.com or (856) 241-9705.