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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
3/19/03

Contact: Fred Mumford
609-984-1795

DEP Expedites Site Cleanup Process, Helps Communities with Multiple Brownfields

Cracks Down on Parties Submitting Substandard Documents

(03/33) TRENTON - Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell today announced new policies to expedite the cleanup of contaminated sites in New Jersey and to implement a Brownfield Development Area Initiative that will help guide remedial work in communities with multiple contaminated areas.

"Environmental progress at many contaminated sites has been seriously hindered by technical disagreements with some companies performing remedial work and by the recalcitrance of others to follow regulatory requirements," said DEP Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell. "Our new policies will result in faster cleanups and require improved performance by companies investigating and cleaning up our natural resources."

A newly formed Technical Review Panel will help resolve disputes between the regulated community and the Department that impede cleanup work at contaminated sites. For example, the panel will expedite resolution of disagreements about testing methods and cleanup strategies to allow remedial work to progress.

In addition to the technical panel, DEP established a new review process for documents submitted by parties conducting investigation and cleanup work at contaminated sites that will require strict compliance with all remediation regulations. DEP will reject substandard plans and reports before progressing with a full review of a proposal.

DEP also created an Office of Accountability to track regulatory non-compliance on rejected reports. The data will help determine appropriate enforcement action when needed.

"Substandard proposals to clean up sites present environmental and public health risks, and consume a disproportionate amount of DEP staff time," said Commissioner Campbell. "These delays cause unfair backlogs of other projects awaiting DEP review, and create an economic burden for developers and other companies."

Under the Brownfield Development Area Initiative, DEP adopted formal guidelines for the design and implementation of remediation and reuse plans for multiple contaminated properties to ensure the work occurs in a coordinated fashion. These guidelines expand upon a pilot project for communities impacted by multiple brownfields that include neighborhoods in Elizabeth, Trenton and Camden.

"Promoting reuse in communities to make them safer and more livable holds great promise for residents in towns across the state and is an essential component of smart growth. I look forward to working with community leaders to help identify properties that could benefit from this novel approach," said Commissioner Campbell.

The brownfield initiative provides a framework and resources to empower affected neighborhoods to address these difficult sites where additional assistance may be needed. No additional regulatory requirements on properties within the Brownfield Development Areas will be imposed.

DEP is working with other involved agencies and offices, including the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, Office of Smart Growth and Commerce and Economic Development Commission to implement the Brownfield Development Area Initiative.

The new policies and applications are posted on DEP’s web page at www.state.nj.us/dep/srp.

 

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