New Jersey’s Industrial Site Recovery Act (ISRA) rule (N.J.A.C. 7:26B) has been law in NJ since December 31, 1983. ISRA requires that owners and operators of facilities with certain North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS) codes (previously SIC codes were used) to investigate and remediate their property when certain “triggering events” occur. These trigger events include the sale of an applicable business or property where that business operates, or when a business ceases operation. More complex business transactions can also be considered triggering events under ISRA. ISRA compliance is required before an ISRA-applicable business or property can be sold.
Using the NAICS code system, ISRA clearly defines which NJ businesses are considered “industrial establishments” and must comply with ISRA when these triggering events occur. For a business to be considered an industrial establishment that is subject to ISRA requirements, three basic requirements must be met:
- the business must have a NAICS code listed in Appendix C of the ISRA rule;
- the business must have operated in NJ on or after the date the ISRA law became effective (December 31, 1983); and,
- the business must use or store hazardous substances as defined at N.J.A.C. 7:1E.
NJDEP must be notified within five days of a triggering event by filing a General Information Notice (GIN). The responsible party must then hire a Licensed Site Remediation Professional (LSRP) to conduct the remediation of the facility.
The process of remediation for each facility begins with a Preliminary Assessment (PA) to identify areas of potential environmental concern on the site. If necessary, a Site Investigation (SI) sampling phase is conducted to determine if contamination is present above NJDEP standards. The SI phase would include sampling of soil and possibly groundwater, if necessary. If contamination is found above NJDEP standards, Remedial Investigation (RI) phase sampling is conducted to delineate the horizontal and vertical extents of the contaminated areas. Once contamination has been delineated, the LSRP prepares a Remedial Action Workplan (RAW), which provides a description of the measures that will be employed to remediate the property. A Remedial Action (RA) phase is then completed to remediate the contaminated areas. If no contamination is identified, or once contamination at a facility is fully remediated, the LSRP can prepare and submit a Response Action Outcome (RAO).
In situations where an ISRA-applicable business or property is being sold, the responsible party must obtain an RAO from an LSRP, or the LSRP must certify an RAW, before the transaction can proceed. Alternatively, NJDEP will allow the responsible party to execute a Remediation Certification with the prospective purchaser, which can also allow the transaction to proceed in advance of completing the entire ISRA process. Responsible parties should be aware that with the submittal of a Remediation Certification, or upon the LSRP’s certification of a RAW for the site, the responsible party is required to establish a Remediation Funding Source (RFS) in the amount required to complete the remediation of the facility, although exemptions from the requirement to post an RFS are available for certain situations. NJDEP regulations also require that the responsible party pay a 1% surcharge on the amount of the RFS. The 1% RFS surcharge is due when the RFS is initially required to be established and annually thereafter.
In lieu of the ISRA processes described above, various alternative ISRA compliance options may also be available to certain industrial facilities. These alternative options can provide exemptions and waivers from having to conduct remediation under ISRA. Alternative ISRA compliance options include:
- Deminimis Quantity Exemption,
- Certificate of Limited Conveyance,
- Regulated Underground Storage Tank Only Waiver
- and Remediation in Progress Waiver.
JMC personnel and LSRPs have been completing ISRA compliance projects since the 1980s. We are experts in guiding clients through all aspects of the ISRA process, from determining facility applicability and compliance options, to more complex remediation and case closure. Please contact us with any of your ISRA questions. We would be glad to assist.