The NJDEP plans to rank all contaminated sites in New Jersey.
The sites will be ranked based on the Remedial Priority Scoring (RPS) System which is a modeling system designed by the NJDEP. There are five (5) possible categories, with Category 1 having the least potential risk and Category 5 having a high potential risk. Contaminated sites will be ranked based on the calculated level of potential risk to public health, safety, and the environment. The modeling system utilizes GIS layers, receptor information, and site specific data to calculate a site score. The site score is calculated based on an evaluation of site contamination and open pathways to nearby receptors. The model assumes that all pathways are open unless information has been previously submitted documenting that the pathway is closed. The site score ultimately determines what category the site will be assigned.
The NJDEP determined that it did not have enough data to rank contaminated sites. Therefore, NJDEP will be sending letters to Responsible Parties and site owners in the near future confirming known site information and asking for additional information. These initial letters will not include the site category. The NJDEP is giving Responsible Parties a chance to submit additional relevant information before the site category is calculated. The Responsible Parties’ Licensed Site Remediation Professional (LSRP) will have 60 days to submit additional data or documentation to facilitate an accurate calculation of a site’s category. The categories will then become publicly available when posted on the NJDEP’s website in September 2012. Categories will then only be updated in 6 month intervals.
Sites that have not submitted any data to the NJDEP will be ranked based on surrogate data dependent on the type of site. Site types include Industrial Site Recovery Act (ISRA) sites, regulated underground storage tank sites, sites with releases, etc. For example, if a site is considered an ISRA site then the 75th percentile of all data submitted for other ISRA sites will be used as the surrogate data for the site. This is extremely problematic in that there is tremendous variability in contamination levels for ISRA sites and other site types. Based on the surrogate data, a site could theoretically receive a high category designation even if there is no documented contamination present on the site.
Therefore, it is imperative that sites react immediately once they receive their initial letter. Sites that are placed in Category 5 have the potential for being placed into direct oversight. In addition, the perceived value of a site could also be negatively affected since the site category is publicly available information. An inaccurate high category designation could impact pending and future transactions concerning the site.
For additional information see the following link: