The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (“NJDEP”) recently issued new vapor intrusion screening levels (“VISL”) and related guidelines, which will have an immediate impact on existing remediation sites. The screening levels were updated to reflect the changes in toxicity values and risk-based equations set forth in the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (“USEPA”) most recent Regional Screening Level (“RSL”) Tables. NJDEP implemented the new VISL as of January 16, 2013. Parties conducting remediations and their Licensed Site Remediation Professionals will need to analyze how these new screening levels impact their sites.

The procedures and associated timeframes in which to conduct a site evaluation based on the new VISL varies as follows:

  • Unrestricted use final remediation documents for ground water issued prior to January 16, 2013 require no further investigation for the vapor intrusion (“VI”) pathway.
  • Restricted use final remediation documents for ground water issued prior to January 16, 2013 require an evaluation of the VI pathway as part of the biennial certification; an assessment of the order of magnitude changes using the new VISL; and, based on this information, implementation of additional remediation as required.
  • Remedial Action Workplans for ground water issued prior to January 16, 2013 require a review of existing data for order of magnitude changes using the new VISL and, based on this information, implementation of additional remediation as required.
  • If none of the aforementioned scenarios exist, there is a 90 day period to evaluate all existing site conditions and data using the new VISL. The 90-day review period terminates April 16, 2013.

A VISL implementation flowchart is available here.

As a result of the new VISL, the screening levels for some compounds, including tetrachloroethene, have increased while five others, including 1.3-dichlorobenzene, have been eliminated completely. In addition, the new VISL tables contain two new compounds: naphthalene and 2-methylnaphthalene. Accordingly, under the new VISL, certain cases may no longer meet the criteria as an Immediate Environmental Concern or Vapor Concern and may be reclassified where appropriate.

The new NJDEP master table of VISL is available here.

NJDEP will host a session on the new VISL on Wednesday, January 30th, from 1:00 – 3:00 PM in the DEP Public Hearing Room, in Trenton, New Jersey. The seminar will also be available via webinar.