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NJDEP Regulatory Update Presentation Summary - February 4, 2015

19 Feb 2015 4:11 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
On February 4, 2015, BCONE and NJSWEP hosted a presentation on NJDEP Regulatory Update.  The Speakers were all qualified/ enthusiastic NJDEP staff members and was held at the Public Hearing Room of NJDEP’s Trenton NJ building.  The presentation was well attended with over 100 people present.  The following is brief summary of the speakers and their main talking-points:

Chief of Staff Magdalena Padilla:

Ms. Padilla welcomed everyone and was appreciative of the opportunity for NJDEP staff members to have a forum to speak to the public regarding NJDEP Regulatory updates and related matters.  Ms. Padilla spoke about the Commissioner’s priorities toward DEP Communication.  This is being accomplished through:

  • Externally of NJDEP through “out of the box thinking."  This is demonstrated through the NJDEP’s desire for more stakeholder input in the regulatory process and a better emphasis toward service to the community.
  • Internally, NJDEP has adopted a monitoring program within the NJDEP’s senior staff (mentors) and junior staff (environmental trainees).  They have instituted a program for hiring veterans, as well as reaching out to other education disciplines other than the typical sciences and engineering to promote “out of the box thinking” within NJDEP. 

Jane Herndon, Asst. Commissioner- Environmental Management

Ms. Herndon discussed two key items; the electronic waste (e-waste) and ground level ozone (O3).

The Eectronic Waste Management Act covers a varied of recyclable products. However, the focal point of the presentation was on the challenges with recycling TVs.  The cathode ray tubes (CRTs) in the older TVs contain lead.  The last manufacturer using materials from CRTs closed operations; resulting in a “negative value” for the recycling and disposal of CRTs.  The e-waste law requires manufacturers of TVs to recycle TVs at no cost to the consumer.  In December 2014 NJDEP issued letters to manufactures and recycler facilities of the manufactures reminding them of this obligation.  The NJDEP incurs a significant expense administering compliance with the e-waste regulations.

Bad “ozone” (O3)which is ozone found on hot summer days at ground level is caused by a photochemical reaction of the sun rays with air pollutants primarily volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxide (NOx).  NOx pollution is emitted by automobiles, power plants, industrial boilers, cement kilns and turbines, and diesel generators.   The (O3) air health standard is 85 parts per billion (ppb), but the EPA is looking to lower the standard to 65-75 ppb.  O3 was the only air pollutant NJ did not meet last year.  However, in determining the NJ air standard compliance, we are lumped in with PA, NY, and CT.  PA is upgradient of NJ (prevailing wind direction) and PA allows their coal power plants to periodically shut off/by-pass their air pollution controls. It is during these times of high electrical demand that the NOx emissions climb and NJ cannot meet the O3 health standard of 85 ppb.  PA NOx emissions have risen 23% over the past several years, whereas NJ’s NOx emissions have declined.  Similarly in NY, companies with larger diesel generators (mobile sources) are paid by the utility suppliers to operate their diesel generators to put power into the grid at high peak demand periods, creating a sudden increase in NOx emissions.   In summary, NJ has made strides to reduce NOx emissions and therefore reduce the natural photochemical production of O3 during hot humid summer days; however, we cannot reach 100% compliance with the EPA O3 health standard (current or the proposed lower EPA standards) without cooperation from our upwind neighboring states.

Dan Kennedy, Asst. Commissioner Water Resource Management

The Water Resource Management priorities as outlined by Mr. Kennedy are:

  •  Water Supply Plan;
  • Barnegat Comprehensive Plan/Assessment;
  • Raritan TMDL Implementation;
  • On-going Sandy Recovery;
  • New RFP for 2015 319(h) non-point source pollution; and
  • Stormwater overhauls for combined sewer overflows (CSO’s) and stormwater MS4 permits.  The goal is within the next 10 years to eliminate the CSO’s outfalls; and/or to provide backup treatment to them.

Water Resource Management Rules being modified include:

  • Water Quality management Plan/ TWA Cap;
  • Water supply allocation; and
  • Well Construction/water supply loan.

Bob Marshall, Asst. Commissioner Sustainability and Green Energy

Mr. Marshall provided some interesting facts about NJ’s energy system:

  • 50% of NJ’s power comes from nuclear, but he Oyster creek plant is scheduled to close in 2019;
  • NJ is ranked 46th lowest in CO2 emissions;
  • Hospitals using combined heat and power are three times higher carbon efficiency;
  • NJ is 3rd in solar energy development promoting “net meter” (behind/ after the meter).
  • Solar and wind and other green energy technologies have some advantages, but a significant disadvantage is their unstable energy supply (e.g. no wind, cloudy days, etc.); and
  • For power stability NJ needs a significant base of dependable energy power supply like nuclear and natural gas generating plants.

65% of NJ residences lost power during super storm Sandy.  As a result, the following items are being worked on:

  • Mapping of petroleum supply chains;
  • Push for wastewater plants to be taken off the “grid;" and
  • Need for additional combined cycle natural gas plants that provide 60%-75% less emissions than traditional coal plants.

Ginger Kopkash, Asst. Commissioner Land Use Management

Ms. Kopkash spoke on the many changes to land use management regulations and permitting (Emergency Flood Hazard and Coastal Rulemaking) process as a result of repairs needed from super storm Sandy.  Emergency amendments were enacted 4/16/2013 for marinas, shellfish industry, rebuilding/maintaining engineered dunes/berms, creation of “living shorelines” even if that meant filling in partial water ways for their creation.

Ms. Kopkash showed photographs of houses that survived Katrina and Sandy where the neighboring ones did not.  A study of the surviving homes concluded the following:

  • Built one foot above residential flood zone map elevations, and/or two feet above fluvial area flood map elevations; and
  • Open foundations on first floor.

As a result new regulations for elevations for reconstruction, dry flood proofing and wet flood proofing construction specifications were enacted.

Ms. Janine MacGregor and Karen Hershey, Site Remediation Program

Mr. Mark Pedersen Asst. Commissioner provided a brief introduction for Ms. MacGregor and Ms. Hershey.  Ms. MacGregor and Ms. Hershey provided updates on the success of the LSRP program and the priorities of the Department to identify and address immediate environmental concerns (IECs).  Overall the number of new cases coming in is for the first time lower than the number of cases being closed by LSRPs.  The number of IECs identified has been climbing, which is interpreted as more sites are being identified and addressed properly through the LSRP program.

On the regulatory side the following items were noted:

  • Proposed LSRP Board Rules issued 12/14, public meeting 2/17/15 at NJDEP’s Trenton office, comment period closes 3/6/15;
  • Proposed UHOT Rules to be issued ~ 4/15;
  • ARRCS Rules Chapter 26C amendments ~ 4/15;
  • Remediation Standards 7:26D to be readopted without change in 5/15, but proposed changes to then be issued ~ 12/15; and
  • Twenty Technical Guidance Documents submitted with seven more in preparation.

Ms. Hershey provided an update of the LSRP Licensing board:

  • Regulation required 13 board members but currently only 11 have been selected;
  • There are 7 active subcommittees (Audit, Rules, Outreach, Continuing Education, Licensure, Professional Conduct and Finance); and
  • 27 complaints have been issued to the Board, and 17 have been resolved.

Mr. Richard Boornazian, Asst. Commissioner Natural and Historic Resources

Mr. Boornazian discussed how he works on the “green” side of the NJDEP and how he balances the interests of the State's conservationists, the recreationalists, the hunters, the farmers and forestry industry.  Mr. Boornazian touched on the following topics:

  • Forestry stewardship rules;
  • Passive recreation;
  • 1.4 million “green acres” are secured in NJ;
  • Farmland preservation;
  • The need for more marine biologists; and
  • The “Blue Acres Program”, which is mostly a federally funded program.

Ms. Richelle Wormley, Asst. Commissioner Compliance and Enforcement

This department does much more than just “enforcement."  It spends a significant effort on the compliance aspect of the department.  The department addresses compliance assistance programs in the areas of UST, air, hazardous waste, solid waste,  pesticides, land use and water quality.One example is the $10,000 grant for dry cleaners with the older “PERC” equipment to upgrade to the newer “wet” or “VOC” machines.  The grant application period has been extended to 12/15.  Other examples include public training the department provides throughout the state for various topics.

Ms. Wormley discussed two pieces of field equipment the NJDEP has been able to purchase that assist with compliance and enforcement inspections: the Jerome meter which is used to monitor H2S emissions in the air; and the FLIR infrared camera, which the NJDEP can use to determine if vapors are being emitted and/or if an out-of-service above ground storage tank is actually empty without physically inspecting the tank.

Regulatory emphasis for this coming year is the compliance monitoring for used oil heaters, degreasers and GP5A permits.

Linda Taylor, Manager - Alternative Dispute Resolution

Ms. Taylor explained the program is purely voluntary, and is specific toward resolving issues between a person and/or Company and the NJDEP, such as permits, compliance, NOV’s and fines.  It does not address issues among 3rd parties. 

All issues are confidential and the program's approach is flexible.  The program attempts to help the parties reach a resolution; it cannot bind a party that does not agree with the proposed resolution. The average time frame for resolution is between six to nine months. The program has a 75% success rate of resolving disputes.

Article by:

Rick Shoyer, LSRP
Sr. Project Consultant
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