(Thanks to our friends at Riker Danzig Scherer Hyland & Perretti LLP for this summary!)
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) is developing a ranking of the known contaminated sites throughout New Jersey based upon the level of risk that each site poses to public health, safety, and the environment. This ranking process is referred to by the NJDEP as the Remedial Priority Scoring System (RPS). The RPS uses a formula to determine scores for each contaminated site. These scores will then be used by the NJDEP to rank the sites from Category 1 (representing the lowest risk to public health and the environment) through Category 5 (the highest risk).
The NJDEP recently has begun to issue letters to each party responsible for conducting remediation of a contaminated site regarding the RPS ranking. The letters do not contain the ranking for the site. Instead, the letters indicate a “yes” or “no” answer as to whether certain human health (e.g., drinking water wells) or ecological (e.g., surface water bodies) receptors potentially could be exposed to the contamination.
The letters also request the responsible party to correct or update the form attached to the letter, which contains (1) the site’s coordinates, (2) the extent of the contamination, (3) whether pathways to receptors are open or closed, and (4) whether required data has been submitted electronically to the NJDEP. Responsible parties have the right, but not the obligation, to respond to the letters by August 10, 2012. To submit any corrections or updates, the responsible party must register no later than July 13th (instructions on how to register are expected to be posted on the website – www.nj.gov/dep/srp/rps). Additionally, only the LSRP for the site, not the responsible party itself, can submit this information via the feedback loop on the website.
Each site’s ranking and compliance status is expected to be posted on the NJDEP website in September 2012 and will be updated thereafter based on new and/or updated information submitted through the remedial process.
For more detailed information regarding the RPS score, you can find our recent newsletter article on the topic at http://www.riker.com/publications/environmental-update. The RPS website (www.nj.gov/dep/srp/rps) also is an informative resource.