Decades of unregulated, uncontrolled and poor environmental practices have led to millions of acres of “brownfields” in the U.S., properties which must be properly remediated before they are repurposed or redeveloped. These properties come in all shapes and sizes, affected by a vast array of contaminants associated with industrial operations. What is a brownfield, and what makes it different from other types of contaminated sites?
By Michael Sylvester & Ed Sullivan
It’s a frustrating scenario that plays out quite frequently in New Jersey: a routine development is challenged by other unknown groundwater contaminants discovered on the site. Whether the property was already undergoing an environmental cleanup or the contaminants are a total surprise, discovery of a groundwater plume can bring a smooth development process to a screeching halt. A routine project can be thrown into the throes of litigation, not to mention unexpected incurred expenses, in an instant.
For nearly 40 years, New Jersey has relied on a set of rules known as the Industrial Site Recovery Act (ISRA) to ensure that industrial properties with potential contaminant exposure are safely transferred or closed. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) requires any qualifying industrial property to follow ISRA regulations.
Passed in 2009, the Site Remediation Reform Act (SRRA) brought major changes to how New Jersey’s contaminated properties are cleaned up and deemed fit for future development. Now, the legislation has received its first overhaul, with the recent signing of S-3862/A-5293, known colloquially as “SRRA 2.0.” This legislation revisits many of the required processes of identifying, reporting, remediating, and maintaining cleaned sites, working out multiple kinks that have been grappled with in New Jersey’s Site Remediation Program since the legislation was enacted.
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PARSIPPANY, N.J. – August 27, 2019 – Comprehensive updates to New Jersey’s 2009 Site Remediation Reform Act (SRRA), signed into law on August 23, will impact how thousands of properties in the state are remediated and redeveloped.