NJDEP Clarifies Obligation to Remediate Contamination from Historic Pesticide Use

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection has more formally confirmed the scope of the responsibility to address historic pesticide use on commercial and industrial properties: namely that a party need not remediate historic pesticide use unless there is a land use change to residences, schools, child care centers and playgrounds. On June 20, 2014, the NJDEP published an additional notice for Response Action Outcomes, the written determination by a Licensed Site Remediation Professional that a remediation is complete, which specifically permits completion of a remediation without investigation of contamination from historic pesticide use. The notice would only apply to contamination from the application of such pesticides to, for example, a former orchard or farm, but not contamination from a discharge caused by the mixing, manufacturing or other handling of such chemicals. NJDEP approval is not required for an LSRP to use this notice.

This action by the NJDEP essentially adopts the recommendations contained in the final report of the Historic Pesticide Contamination Task Force issued during March 1999. That report recommended that former agricultural areas should be remediated prior to site development or if intensively used by children, but stopped short of broadly mandating such action for all sites that have already been developed. While remediating parties have previously relied on the recommendations of the task force, this RAO notice now eliminates any uncertainty about the necessity to remediate contamination from historic pesticide use on sites that have already been developed for commercial and industrial uses and will continue to be used for such purposes.

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