What is a brownfield?
A brownfield is defined under NJ state law (N.J.S.A. 58:10B-23.d)
as "any former or current commercial or industrial site that
is currently vacant or underutilized and on which there has been,
or there is suspected to have been, a discharge of a contaminant."
While this is the definition recognized in state
legislation, there are many variations on this definition. Generally,
brownfields are properties that are abandoned or underutilized because
of either real or perceived contamination.
contaminated sites are there in NJ? Are they all brownfields?
At any one time, the NJDEP oversees some 23,000
contaminated sites. An estimated 10,000 of these are potential brownfield
sites. Many more potential brownfields may exist in the State that
are not yet before the Department for review. For more information
about known contaminated sites, consult the New
Jersey Known Contaminated Sites list.
How can I find out if there
is a contaminated site in my town?
Jersey Known Contaminated Sites lists sites by county and by
Where can I access information
about a specific brownfield site?
All of the sites under NJDEP oversight, including
brownfields, can be accessed through the Known
Contaminated Site List or the NJDEP I-Map GIS mapping system. Anyone interested in looking at case files can
file an Open Public Records
Act (OPRA) request.
Where can I find a suitable
brownfield site for my business?
There are a number of approaches to finding a
suitable brownfield for reuse as a business. Under the new NJDEP
Brownfield Development Area (BDA) program, designated communities
have identified clusters of brownfield sites for coordinated remediation
and reuse according to a community-based plan. This provides opportunities
for developers as well. There are numerous potential sites for redevelopment
in the BDA’s in Camden, Trenton, Elizabeth, Irvington, Newark, Hillside
The State also has a "Site
Mart," which is a searchable on-line multiple-listing service
managed by the New Jersey Redevelopment Authority. Users need to
register at the website to view the listed properties. The registration
is free and available to anyone. For more information please contact
the New Jersey Redevelopment Authority (NJRA) at 609-292-2659.
The NJDEP list of all contaminated sites does not
currently distinguish between sites that are available for development
and those that are simply in the remediation process. If you are
interested in knowing whether a particular site is under Department
oversight, you can check it out by searching the Known
Contaminated Site List.
Often the best source of information regarding
redevelopment of a specific site is found locally. If you have a
specific municipality or county in mind, speak with the local economic
development directors who generally know where the sites are in
their communities. Also, many counties have developed inventories
of brownfield sites.
Where can I find New Jersey’s
and Contaminated Site Remediation Act (BCSRA) was passed in
1998 and Section 35 was amended in October, 2002.
Can a brownfield site be redeveloped
as open space or a park?
Yes. Commissioner Campbell launched the "Brownfields
to Greenfields" initiative in November 2002. That initiative
encourages the restoration of brownfield sites into recreational
or natural areas. If you want to turn a Brownfield into a Greenfield,
experienced NJDEP case managers can oversee remediation and revitalization
efforts to help you comply with the Technical
Requirements for Site Remediation. Assurance that the public
is protected from any exposure is a key concern addressed by long
term monitoring and maintenance of engineering and institutional
controls when required. Funding for remediation and acquisition
may be available from other parts of NJDEP, such as the Green
Where can I find funding for
brownfield remediation and redevelopment?
The NJDEP works with the NJ Economic Development
Authority (EDA) in the implementation of the Hazardous
Discharge Site Remediation Fund (HDSRF). The legislature created
the HDSRF in 1993 to provide loans and grants to municipal governmental
entities, the New Jersey Redevelopment Authority (NJRA), and private
parties. HDSRF funding is devoted to remediating discharges of hazardous
substances. Over the past ten years the HDSRF provided over $100,000,000
for remediation of over 1000 sites.
Under the Brownfield
and Contaminated Site Remediation Act (BCSRA) [pdf] a developer that
enters into a redevelopment agreement may potentially recoup up
to 75% of his or her cleanup costs. The New
Jersey Commerce and Economic Growth Commission and the Department
of Treasury, in consultation with NJDEP, negotiate and approve redevelopment
For general information on state programs dedicated
to brownfield reuse including remediation and financing information,
contact the New Jersey Brownfield Redevelopment Task Force and request
the new brochure "The
New Jersey Brownfields Redevelopment Resource Kit."
What is a Cleanup Star?
Under the Cleanup
Star Program, NJDEP will pre-qualify environmental consultants
meeting rigorous education, experience and professional requirements
as "Cleanup Stars." These "Cleanup Stars" will
be permitted to investigate and remediate certain low-priority sites
and areas of concern with limited NJDEP oversight. NJDEP will strictly
audit Cleanup Stars’ work to ensure regulatory compliance and protection
of public health and the environment.
How can I become certified
as a Cleanup Star consultant?
See the Cleanup
Star FAQ for the current information on becoming a Cleanup Star
Where can I find the most
up-to-date rules and regulations for voluntary cleanups?
of the voluntary cleanup
The current technical
regulations and oversight
rules are available online, and they apply to all cleanups.
Note: The online SRP Regulations are "courtesy
copies." To obtain official copies of these regulations consult
the NJDEP Office of Legal Affair's How
to Get Copies of Departmental Rules page.
Does New Jersey offer liability
protections for someone willing to acquire contaminated
Yes. There are a variety of liability protections
offered by New Jersey law and the NJDEP initiative of Prospective
Purchaser Agreements, however, in New Jersey, the Courts, not
NJDEP, decide liability issues. NJDEP can assist your understanding of the protections available and what
you have to do to qualify, but the Department cannot tell you whether
or not you are able to escape a legal finding of liability.
What is a Covenant Not to Sue?
A Covenant Not To Sue (CNS) (NJSA 58:10B-13.1) accompanies all
letters of No Further Action (NFA). The CNS is a finality document;
it is NJDEP's own commitment that it will not institute civil actions
to require more clean up or funds for cleanups against those who
conducted the remediation that resulted in the NFA or against and
subsequent owners, lessees, or operators who come onto the site
after the NFA/CNS is issued.
Note: There are no CNS protections
for Spill Act dischargers or those "in any way responsible" under
the Spill Act for the existence of hazardous substances, nor does
it address liability protections from 3rd party lawsuits. It can
be revoked if the NFA conditions are not complied with, including
monitoring and maintaining institutional or engineering controls.
In addition to the protections provided by law,
NJDEP also enters into Prospective Purchaser Agreements (PPAs) in
certain cases when requested. PPAs are often obtained by parties
taking title to contaminated property before the completion of the
cleanup and the issuance of the NFA/CNS. The Department will consider
a PPA as long as some party (the seller, the buyer or some other
party) is conducting a cleanup under the oversight of NJDEP, the
purchaser can truthfully sign the innocent purchaser certification
that is part of the PPA, the NJDEP document preparation costs are
paid and an agreed to environmental settlement premium is paid.
The PPA would then offer the purchaser liability protection from
the NJDEP (not other 3rd parties) between the time that the contaminated
land is purchased and the time that the NFA/CNS is issued. Interested
parties may contact NJDEP for further information.
What can we do to get multiple
sites in our neighborhood remediated?
The NJDEP launched the new Brownfields
Development Area (BDA) Initiative specifically to work with
interested communities to address the challenges presented by multiple
brownfield sites. This initiative focuses on the role of community
stakeholder input in both planning and implementation of remediation
and reuse, bringing assistance from NJDEP and other key agencies.
To date NJDEP has designated neighborhoods in Camden, Trenton, Elizabeth,
Irvington, Newark, Hillside and Palmyra. Community
organizations are urged to discuss their goals with their municipal
with multiple sites in their neighborhoods and to apply for this competitive designation.
How can I receive assistance
with the NJDEP permitting process?
How do I coordinate remediation
with land use requirements?
[ End of the Brownfields