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Voluntary Cleanup Program


Voluntary Cleanup Program

Memorandum of Agreement Process Discontinued

The Department has discontinued the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) process as a result of the enactment of the Site Remediation Reform Act (SRRA) on May 7, 2009. The Act, which also amends the Brownfield and Contaminated Sites Act, contains a provision at Section 30a which establishes an affirmative obligation on persons to remediate any discharge for which they would be liable pursuant to the Spill Compensation and Control Act. As such, there is no longer a need for a “voluntary cleanup program”. Section 30b also requires persons conducting a remediation to proceed though the process without waiting for Department approvals, unless otherwise directed by the Department. To assist the regulated community in understanding what is required to comply with the Site Remediation Program process and laws, the Act establishes a Licensed Site Remediation Professional (LSRP) Program that will result in the licensing of Licensed Site Remediation Professionals who will supervise the day-to-day operations associated with site cleanups. All new remediation cases subject to Section 30 of the SRRA must be performed by a LSRP after November 3, 2009. All remediation cases, including those now under DEP oversight must be performed by a LSRP after May 07, 2012.

Until November 3, 2009, those cases that once entered the Site Remediation Program through the execution of a MOA may still request Department oversight with the completion of one of the following forms:

Please submit the appropriate form with the documents for which you are requesting oversight. The Department will contact you to inform you when, or if, a case manager will be assigned or if you will be directed to proceed without DEP approval until you reach the RI/RAWP phase of remediation.

**Note** The above referenced forms must be submitted along with the initial document(s) (i.e. Preliminary Assessment Report, Site Investigation Report, Remedial Investigation Report, etc.) for which Department oversight is being requested. These forms should only be used until November 3, 2009. LSRP related forms are currently being developed which will be posted in the near future.

Cases subject to the Industrial Site Recovery Act (ISRA) Rules or the Underground Storage Tank Rules should continue to utilize the forms found at and

The following materials have been superceeded:

In April 1992, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection's (department) Voluntary Cleanup Program (VCP) initiated operations.

Through the VCP, responsible parties, developers, local officials, or individuals may work with the department to remediate non-priority contaminated sites that pose no immediate threat to human health or the environment. Previously, such work was performed under an Administrative Consent Order (ACO) which included time tables and stipulated penalties if work was not completed on schedule. To replace the legally-binding and potentially time consuming ACO, the department introduced an alternative oversight document, the user friendly VCP system, for those who want to investigate or clean up sites with limited contamination.

Under the VCP, a party conducting a cleanup enters into an agreement with the department, called a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA), to establish the scope of cleanup activities. Such activities could range from a preliminary assessment and site investigation, to determine if contamination exists at a site, to remedial actions necessary to clean up the site.

VCP Forms (discontinued):

Memorandum of Agreements (MOA's)

  • Residential Properties
  • Non-Residential Properties

Inital Notice for Oversight

  • Residential Properties
  • Non-Residential Properties

Other Forums

  • Certifications Form
  • Residential/Non-Regulated Underground Storage Tank Remedial Action Report Submittal Form

The program provides the flexibility to interested parties to remediate at their own schedule. Additionally, parties may select a partial investigation or cleanup without fear of penalties. Furthermore, the party may exit the agreement if they desire.

It should be noted that not all contaminated properties qualify for the program. Some properties subject to the Industrial Site Recovery Act and the Underground Storage Tank or Federal Superfund programs are not part of the VCP. Also, if an investigation reveals that a property is heavily contaminated and posses an immediate environmental concern (an acute, direct threat to human health or the environment), the department will conduct an immediate cleanup using funds from the Spill Compensation Fund. In such cases, the department will try to find the responsible party to recover the cost of the cleanup.

While the VCP was developed to facilitate cleanups of sites with low levels of contamination and to recycle them into viable commercial centers, a number of the program's cases involve residential properties. Lately, the program has become a useful tool in helping to close out residential real estate transactions where potential buyers are concerned with the condition of oil storage tanks. Taking advantage of the program's speedy turnaround of consultant's technical documents and flexibility for case closeouts, sellers of residential properties are usually able to present a "No Further Action Letter" to buyers in time for settlement. A "No Further Action Letter" is issued when a party completes remedial activities at a site in accordance with the department's " Technical Requirements for Site Remediation," a cookbook style guide for technical cleanup compliance.

The VCP has also dovetailed nicely within the department's "Brownfields" initiatives by providing a tool for easier and faster reuse of formerly contaminated facilities. With the increasing popularity of the initiative, many polluted sites that developers may have avoided in the past are being reclaimed for commercial use. It has been found that "recycling" abandoned, contaminated properties to viable, productive uses not only stimulates economic growth but also ensures protection of the environment.

Recent examples of recycled properties where economic redevelopment and site remediation work hand in hand through the VCP include a new minor league baseball field where a former steel plant once stood along the Trenton riverfront and a large office and retail complex at the former site of the Roebling Wire Works where cables for the Brooklyn and Golden Gate Bridges were made. Yet another example is the 50-unit townhouse development that was constructed in Newark's Central Ward where there once stood a collection of dilapidated row houses with leaking underground storage tanks.

The VCP continues to provide a way for businesses and owners of residential properties to clean up contaminated sites, adding to the prosperity of the state. For more information on the program contact the Division of Remediation Support; Bureau of Risk Management, Initial Notice & Case Assignment at 609-292-2943.

infoPlease note...

As an alternative to the VCP, many cases can be expedited through DEP's Unregulated Heating Oil Tank Program and Cleanup Star Program by using a pre-qualified Environmental Professional. Non-priority contaminated sites that pose no immediate threat to human health or the environment will not be assigned for at least 8 months from the time reports are received. NJDEP strongly encourages parties in need of timely approval to take advantage of these programs

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