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Site Remediation News
July 2000 (Vol 12 No 1) - Article 02

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Electronic Data Submission Required to Receive NFAs

By: John Defina and Izak Maitin
Bureau of Planning & Systems

On February 18, 1997 the Technical Rules for Site Remediation NJAC 7:26E were readopted with amendments. Notable in this readoption was the requirement that all future data submitted to the DEP would have to be in a Departmentally specified electronic format. Prior to that readoption there was a considerable period of time (one year from proposal) during which the regulated community was informed of the upcoming electronic requirement. Nevertheless the DEP recognized that full compliance with the rule is an evolutionary process that could not practically be implemented immediately. Accordingly the date for full compliance with electronic data submission was postponed 6 months from the date of the readoption, July 18, 1997. Guidance was published, support software distributed, and workshops were conducted during this period to assist the affected community with the requirements. The rule was amended again in August of 1999 without significant change to the electronic data submittal requirements.

The implementation of the electronic data requirements specified by the Technical Rule has been remarkably successful and kudos go to the regulated community at large and in particular to the many environmental consulting firms responsible for implementation of the technical details that support electronic data submission. Currently, over 85% of the data submissions are passing the Department's electronic review process. The partnership that has developed between the department and regulated community is quickly becoming a model for other states and federal programs. Presently the Site Remediation Program is engaged in training its staff in the use of the data management repository and SRP power users have received training on the system. Additional training is planned for these personnel as well as the rest of the programs professional staff.

In an effort to insure full compliance with electronic data submittal requirements effective July 15th 2000 the DEP will no longer issue NFA letters for cases (excepting those cases subject to the homeowner exclusion) that have not submitted data in the format specified under NJAC 7:26E and its associated guidance. Any submission dated July 15, 2000 or later must submit data in compliance with NJAC 7:26E. Note: that "acceptable" submissions mean meeting the electronic data requirements. Clarification for what constitutes accepable is addressed below, and relates to the spatial accuracy of samples as specified in the referenced guidance. Below is a brief outline of the issues that have lead to the determination by the DEP to stress and require compliance with the Technical Rules electronic data requirements.

Caution: Technical and Statistical Details to Follow

Since February 18, 1997 over ten thousand electronic data submissions have been reviewed by the DEP and thousands of these files have been loaded in to the SRP data repository. Examination of the data using the DEP's GIS technology has begun, and while a number of case specific discrepancies have been identified, a large number of data sets have spatial and data accuracy that is accept-able. Elements of these data sets are being evaluated for application to Departmental projects, such as:

  • Direct measurement of environmental quality and its improvement or degradation in the form of "Quantitative Environmental Indicators."

  • Environmental Monitoring for Public Access and Community Tracking (EMPACT).

  • Statewide identification of areas in the state appropriate for ground water well installation.

  • Identification of point sources of ground water pollution sites in source water protection areas and watershed management areas.

  • Assessment of the effectiveness and registration of institutional controls, notably Classification Exception Areas.

  • Additionally, these data are being made available to SRP case managers for analysis and use with site data review and case management.

"Acceptable Data" What does that Mean?

As noted above a number of case specific discrepancies have been identified with some of the data submissions. The use of GIS as a visualization tool has made the following observations possible. Note that these comments do not focus on the analytical accuracy of the data but rather are concerned with the accuracy of the reported spatial coordinates of the samples and the identification of the reported results. Key issues of concern are:

  • The spatial coordinates were not supplied in state plain coordinates (feet) using the NAD 83 datum.

  • The spatial coordinates provided were outside the boundaries of the state.

  • The spatial coordinates while apparently within the boundaries of the state are clearly inaccurate and were not at the site in question.

  • The same coordinate provided for all sampling points (wells and soil samples).

  • Inconsistent use of or misidentification of the contaminates with CAS #s.

These issues must be corrected before electronic data submissions can be deemed complete and before the issuance of the NFA letter. Further information and guidance regarding these issues can be obtained at the Site Remediation web page at: https://www.nj.gov/dep/srp/hazsite

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Last revision: 10 August 2000