N.J. Calls for Progress Reports at Cleanup Sites

The N.J. Department of Environmental Protection is implementing a law requiring those responsible for cleanups of contaminated sites to post signs or distribute notification letters informing local residents of work progress, Commissioner Lisa P. Jackson announced on Sept. 3.

"This public outreach significantly improves how neighbors are kept informed about cleanups and will become an invaluable tool for everyone involved in those cleanups by eliminating misperceptions and speculation that can create conflict and unnecessary delays," Jackson said.

The parties responsible for cleanups must take these actions no later than two weeks prior to the initiation of certain phases of investigation or remediation of a site. For sites already undergoing cleanup, notification must take place within a year of the effective date of the rules.

"While the DEP posts an on-line contaminated site list and makes every effort to make site information available to anyone who requests it, the public may not know how to access it nor have the time to seek it out," Jackson said. "This initiative brings important information about site cleanups right to their communities and into their homes."

Signs must be placed in locations that are clearly visible to the public and must be at least two-feet-by-three-feet in size. They must include the following wording: "Environmental Investigation/Cleanup in Progress at this Site."

The signs must further provide a contact person and telephone number for the entity or person conducting the remediation as well as the phone number for the DEP's Office of Community Relations.

If the letter option is chosen, it must include the name and address of the site, lot and block information, a common-language description of the contamination, and a statement that the party doing the remediation will provide copies of all environmental reports to the municipality upon the municipality's request.

When appropriate, additional letters or signs are to be provided in the language dominant in the community, such as Spanish.

The rules were authorized by amendments to the Brownfield and Contaminated Site Remediation Act and are effective now.

For a copy of the rule and information on the initiative, visit www.nj.gov/dep/srp/.

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