Environmental Accomplishments of the Past 40 Years
Remediation Standard Regulations Adopted
Protecting human health and the environment is one of DEP’s core goals, around which most of DEP’s programs are organized. Before 1996, the DEP made decisions about the clean-up of contaminated sites on a case-by-case basis. As the number of remediation proposals received by the DEP increased, there became an increasing need for standardization of remediation goals to relieve confusion and allow DEP staff to focus on sites with the most serious pollution problems. The Remediation Standard Regulations (RSRs) were developed to establish “end points” for clean up and to provide regulations that could be implemented to balance the concerns of the business community with those of the environmental community.
The RSRs provide resolution for sites in the Property Transfer Program, which was created in 1985, in that they establish goals and flexibility for the remediation of contaminated properties. Completion of investigation and remediation at Property Transfer Program sites results in eliminating a threat to public health and the environment and adds market value to properties. The RSRs also served as a launching point for the Licensed Environmental Professional (LEP) Program, created in 1995, and the Voluntary Remediation Programs, created in 1996. The LEP Program allows sites to be remediated under the direction of a LEP who may verify the investigation and completion of remediation of a property to the DEP, making timeframes for property clean-up shorter and thereby more cost-effective for the property owner. The Voluntary Remediation Programs allow anyone entering into these programs to address environmental concerns at a property by cleaning up the property in accordance with the RSRs and to obtain approval from DEP or verification by a LEP before selling or transferring a property.
Over 3,000 sites are in the Property Transfer and Voluntary Remediation Programs, and remediation has been completed at approximately 600 sites.
DEP’s Remediation Division is currently leading efforts to revise the RSRs. The revisions involve looking at the most recent science to inform the community as to how to be as protective of human health and the environment as possible. The revisions also include developing methods for self-implementation of the RSRs and further expanding of the amount of sites being remediated while maintaining regulatory checks and balances.
Voluntary Remediation Programs