- The Shift to the LSRP Program Is Felt in the UST Program
- December 22, 2011
- Law Firm: Riker Danzig Scherer Hyland Perretti LLP - Morristown Office
A major component of the SRRA -- the LSRP program -- is being applied to the NJDEP's Underground Storage Tank ("UST") program. The NJDEP proposes that after May 2012, work conducted on regulated USTs relating to the remediation of a discharge must be performed by an LSRP, and no longer by a certified subsurface evaluator. The NJDEP will not accept any work related to a regulated UST conducted by a subsurface evaluator. Moreover, the NJDEP proposes that the failure on the part of the owner or operator of the regulated UST to hire an LSRP to conduct the remediation of a discharge from the UST will constitute grounds to deny the issuance of or to revoke a facility's UST Registration Certificate. The reason for the shift of responsibility from certified UST contractors to LSRPs is unclear and may present some efficiency issues. Requiring LSRPs to be directly involved in the operation and maintenance of UST systems -- a role historically played by certified UST contractors -- may increase costs for UST operators and impede the speed with which these tasks are completed (e.g., installation, monitoring, cathodic protection and installation of monitoring systems). Many LSRPs have not traditionally performed these tasks and may not be as familiar with them as are certified UST subsurface evaluators.
Similarly, the role of the LSRP would also expand with respect to the review of UST system closure plans. It is the LSRP, and no longer the NJDEP, who will review UST system closure plans, site investigation reports, and the initial remedial investigation report or other reports. The owner or operator need not submit the closure plans to the NJDEP; instead, the LSRP will review and implement the plans.
The NJDEP has proposed another significant change. Under the proposed UST regulations, the owner or operator of the UST must conduct an "unknown source investigation" where available information indicates that the UST system may be the source of a discharge. Commenters to the rule proposal have said that, as written, an investigation may be required even where the contaminants of concern do not match the products stored in the UST. The unknown source investigation report will be required to comply with the requirements for a site investigation and report; yet, the timeframe for submitting an unknown source investigation report is considerably shorter (90 days) than that required for a site investigation. Thus, the proposed regulations impose broader obligations on owners/operators of UST systems.