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(Lukiyanova Natalia)

Except for unregulated heating oil tanks, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) no longer issues No Further Action (NFA) letters for properties that have completed the remediation process. Rather, under the New Jersey Site Remediation Reform Act (SRRA) enacted in 2009, Licensed Site Remediation Professionals (LSRPs) issue Response Action Outcomes (RAOs), which are considered the “functional equivalent” of NFA letters. From 2009 to 2012, site remediation in New Jersey transitioned to LSRPs who took the reins from NJDEP, and the holy grail (the “final remediation document”) became the RAO in place of the NFA letter. After this transition, however, NJDEP regulation of site remediation has evolved and arguably has expanded.

As one may recall, NFA letters were essentially boilerplate letters prepared and issued by the NJDEP that memorialized remediation closure approval sought by responsible parties—oftentimes, after several years of comment letters exchanged between the NJDEP and the environmental consultant, phone calls, notices of deficiency, notices of violation, etc. Other than whether or not the subject property had restricted use conditions or open groundwater monitoring wells, the terms of the NFA letters were almost identical to one another. There was little, if any, discussion or negotiation between NJDEP and the responsible party concerning the language in the NFA letter.

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