NJDEP Ramps Up Enforcement Efforts
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection has signaled that its Site Remediation Program will increase enforcement to parties who currently have open cases that have missed regulatory deadlines. If action has not been taken within the time frame required by the Site Remediation Reform Act (SRRA), the party responsible may receive a summons for failure to take action.
In 2009, the SRRA was enacted partly to decrease the number of NJDEP open cases. Until recently, the NJDEP had only enforced cleanup sanctions against parties with properties that were severely impacted, very large projects or those that posed an imminent threat to the health and safety of people or the environment.
The NJDEP has moved into a new era of broader enforcement of SRRA. Already this year, there have been over 52 summonses issued, resulting in over $158,000 in penalties. If a remediation deadline is missed, it is up to the compliance officer to file a summons request with a municipality. A local municipal court then issues the summons and sets a court date for an appearance by the responsible party. The Deputy Attorney General (DAG) will then send a letter to the defendant offering to settle the violation. In instances where a settlement cannot be reached, the case will go to a trial in municipal court.
If you would like more information about a SRRA summons from the NJDEP or if you need assistance with closing an NJDEP Site Remediation Program case, please contact Michael Sylvester at 973-560-1400 ext. 187