Innocent Land Owners Need to Understand PADEP’s Act 2 Program

The old adage “let the buyer beware” refers to a time in history when the seller of a product had no obligation to warn the buyer about defects in the product. Today there are several “implied warranty” laws that ensure anyone buying a product has the right to depend on the product being useable for its intended purpose. Although there are numerous laws and regulations enforced by federal, state, and local agencies to help protect the “buyer,” there are still some wrinkles in the process that every individual should know about. This basic rule also applies to land leases – particularly to leases that allow for the extraction of mineral or oil resources from private property.

In Pennsylvania, land leases for the extraction of natural gas from the Marcellus shale formation have become common. Earlier this year the PADEP published a draft policy on the obligation of gas companies to clean up spills of waste materials such as fuel oil and fracturing fluids on private properties throughout the state.  The proposed policy provides a set of procedures for oil and gas companies to follow in remediating spills at well pad sites. Of particular interest is the allowance to enter those sites in the PADEP’s brownfield remediation (Act 2) program. The PADEP will allow remediators of spills at oil and gas sites to enter them into the Act 2 program and receive liability protection, based on the fact that a spill of frack fluids would be a spill of residual waste, governed by the Solid Waste Management Act, which is one of the statutes covered under Act 2.  In addition, a spill that could impact the waters of the Commonwealth would be regulated under the Clean Streams Law, which is also covered under Act 2.

Act 2: Is It Helping or Hurting Us?

Act 2 is often perceived as a law whose primary intent was to help facilitate the reuse of old industrial sites. Instead of a developer having to figure out how to remove pollutants from soil and groundwater from a former industrial site, it could propose a “cleanup” that eliminates the risk to public health, allowing the pollution to remain in the environment. Capping the land with asphalt and using public water rather than groundwater would limit exposure of persons intending to use the site in the future, and that would suffice to consider the area “clean” under Act 2.  However, Act 2 is commonly used for all sorts of contaminated sites, not just the stereotypical abandoned factory. The practical effect of the Land Recycling and Environmental Standards Remediation Act (Act 2) was to shift the principle that governed environmental cleanups inPennsylvaniafrom the use of the best available technology to remove pollution, to one of allowing pollution to remain in the environment so long as it does not threaten public health.

An innocent land owner who is looking for a cash cow and lessees their land to gas companies for the drilling of natural gas wells should be aware, that although Act 2 does offer protection of life and health, at the end of the process contaminants may still remain in place. That means that if a gas company contaminates your soil and/or groundwater, the PADEP will only make sure the company does what is necessary to meet the risk-based standards under Act 2. So, “Let the lessors beware.” You’ll have to protect your own soil and/or groundwater if you are not satisfied with the risk-based cleanup standards under Act 2, and want to ensure that your property is as clean after drilling as it was before.

“Do you have a site that may be environmentally compromised? REPSG can help you sort through process. REPSG offers a range of environmental due diligence, environmental investigations and remediation for private and commercial land owners perform for the best investigators from sites as investigationhotline online.  Do not hesitate to contact REPSG for all of your environmental needs and questions.

The Journey of Redevelopment: an REPSG Photo Log

As a child, I used to work on family genealogy with my dad. We spent countless Saturdays pouring over ship manifests and other old records looking for any information about our ancestors. I was fascinated with all the old documents and photos that told the story of our family’s journey. Years later, working as part of REPSG’s Phase I team, I was explaining my work to my dad. He listened carefully and responded, “So it sounds to me like you’re doing genealogy, just on property instead of people.” I had never thought of my work that way before, but I liked the analogy.

At REPSG, we do a lot of historical research. We want to understand as much as we can about the history of a property in order to inform its future transformations. Some of our projects are short term, some we get to participate in through the course of redevelopment, and some are sites that just keep coming back. It’s fascinating to see what these properties become – old factories turned into thriving community centers, forgotten land redeveloped as affordable housing, or buildings whose future is in limbo and who are left to decay.

I thought it would be interesting to share some photos of the “journeys” of some of our sites.  Click through each set of photos below to see the amazing transformations!

From empty row-homes to state-of-the-art senior housing


Picture 1 of 2

 A major industrial facility redeveloped into homes. In my early days with REPSG, I spent weeks at this site overseeing the volumes of trucks hauling soil on and off site. It was great to be able to see the project evolve, and REPSG was invited to take company tour of the model home!


Picture 1 of 3

Sometimes we visit sites multiple times over the years, and one particular site comes to mind. REPSG has watched this building change over time as it waits for a new life. These photos remind me a bit of the decay you see on the Titanic.


Picture 1 of 2

 REPSG frequently works with community revitalization organizations. I always enjoy working with these types of clients who have such a vision for what a site or even neighborhood can be. This old factory and warehouse is, piece by piece, being renovated to house community offices and a charter school.


Picture 1 of 2

 Another developer client of ours had the vision to turn this piece of vacant urban land into a vibrant senior housing community. This site was also the site of a former industrial facility that had long ago been demolished.


Picture 1 of 2

Do you own a site or have your eye on one for reuse or redevelopment? REPSG would love to be a part of the next phase of your property’s journey of transformation.  Contact us to see how we can best partner with you to define the next generation of your site.

An Introduction to Vapor Intrusion Investigations in New Jersey

 For the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP), 2012 has been a banner year. Here at REPSG, we have really had to stay on our toes to ensure that allNew Jerseysites are adhering to current regulatory guidance, form submittal requirements, and rules.

In January 2012, the new Vapor Intrusion Technical Guidance was finalized, providing lots of new details for the investigation of vapor intrusion into indoor air. Additionally, the Technical Requirements for Site Remediation (7:26E) was finalized in May 2012, providing the last word in receptor evaluation of populations being potentially impacted by harmful vapors. Now that all of the changes have been finalized, Suzanne Shourds and I plan to tackle the topic of vapor intrusion in an upcoming series of blog articles. We will be discussing the ins and outs of vapor intrusion as well as our own experiences with sites in New Jersey that have addressed potential vapor intrusion. These posts will cover vapor intrusion screening levels, receptor evaluations, the stages of a vapor intrusion investigation (groundwater, soil gas, and indoor air), mitigation, and the special requirements associated with Immediate Environmental Concerns and Vapor Concerns.ew Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP), 2012 has been a banner year. Here at REPSG, we have really had to stay on our toes to ensure that all New Jersey sites are adhering to current regulatory guidance, form submittal requirements, and rules.

To get things started, let’s take a look at Vapor Intrusion Investigation Triggers, Screening Levels, and Receptor Evaluation (Stage 1).

When conducting a Site Investigation, the first step to take to address potential vapor intrusion is to identify a source, as well as a potential pathway (typically impacted groundwater) and possible receptors. Identification of all these components triggers the need for a Vapor Intrusion Investigation (Stage 2), addressed in the next blog post on this topic).

Once impacted groundwater with concentrations above the NJDEP’s Groundwater Vapor Intrusion Screening Levels is identified and delineated, all buildings (homes, apartments, commercial spaces, warehouses) and structures (garages, utility vaults, sheds) within 30 feet of petroleum-based impacts (including free product) and/or within 100 feet of non-petroleum-based groundwater impacts (including free product) must be considered potential receptors of vapor intrusion impacts and incorporated into the investigation.       A receptor must be present in order for there to be a potential vapor intrusion concern. This includes consideration of future receptors. Once the trigger is identified, the property owner has 150 days to conduct sampling of the identified receptors. Prior to conducting this sampling, all receptors must be characterized to identify building or structure use, size, and details (such as the presence of a basement).

Additional site triggers for a vapor investigation include: soil gas or indoor air data above Vapor Intrusion Screening Levels, a wet basement or sump containing free product or groundwater impacted with volatile compounds, methane-generating conditions, any other situation threatening health and safety that is related to vapor/indoor air.

Have a question about vapor intrusion investigation triggers? Leave a comment below or please feel free to contact me at Please check back soon for our follow up article on Stage 2: Vapor Intrusion Investigation.

Vapor Encroachment Explained

In a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) report, these days you are likely to see an evaluation of vapor encroachment conditions at the site. If you haven’t, you will. The upcoming update to ASTM’s Phase I Standard proposes to treat vapor encroachment like any other source of contamination, and thus a routine component of environmental due diligence.  So, what is it?

Think of vapor encroachment as a cousin of vapor intrusion.

According to the EPA, vapor intrusion occurs when there is a migration of volatile chemicals from contaminated groundwater or soil into an overlying building. Evaluation of vapor intrusion identifies contamination sources on- site. Vapor encroachment, on the other hand, also considers off-site sources. Think of vapor encroachment as a screening tool.

Vapor encroachment screening identifies releases in the vicinity of the subject property and, based on the contaminant plume, evaluates the likelihood of vapors migrating to the subsurface of the subject property. Vapors, in this case, consist of any chemical of concern (COC); and their presence or likely presence constitutes a vapor encroachment condition (VEC). The ASTM standard for this screening (E2600-10) uses a two-tiered approach (not to be confused with the EPA’s three-tiered vapor intrusion guidance!)

Tier 1 of vapor encroachment screening uses state and federal database records to identify those sites with the potential to affect subsurface vapor conditions. Much like the radius search for a Phase I report, Tier 1 employs a 1/3 mile radius for releases of non-petroleum products, and a 1/10 mile radius for releases of petroleum products. If a VEC cannot be ruled out, i.e. there are open sites within the search distance, then on to Tier 2.

Tier 2 starts out as a non-invasive records review. If you’re lucky, the state will have regulatory files for sites identified in Tier 1, and those files will contain the location of the source and contaminant plume. Based on the relation of the plume to the subject property, it is possible to rule out a VEC. If you don’t have access to plume info, or, if a VEC cannot be ruled out non-invasively, the next option is sampling – of soil, soil gas, and/or groundwater.

Ultimately, there are four possible outcomes of a vapor encroachment screen: 1) VEC exists; 2) VEC likely exists; 3) VEC cannot be ruled out; or 4) VEC can be ruled out. In the context of a Phase I ESA, the environmental professional determines if a VEC represents a recognized environmental condition (REC) for a specific site.

As vapor intrusion receives more attention from regulators, vapor encroachment screening can be a useful tool to delineate vapor concerns originating on-site and off. The intent is to provide an evaluation of vapor in the soil, thus refining the determination of vapor that may end up indoors. Some agree, some disagree, either way it is here to stay. Have you found vapor encroachment screening to provide insight or headaches? Leave a comment below, and please feel free to contact me at with your vapor encroachment questions.

The Hidden Dangers of Undeveloped Land

Developing farmland might appear, on the surface, to be free of environmental risks and liabilities.  If a field has only ever been a farm field or a forest, what environmental risks could a developer possibly face?  The answer lies in the field itself: pesticides.

In 1997 New Jersey created the Historic Pesticide Contamination Task Force (“Task Force”) to evaluate the potential environmental impacts and health effects of exposure to historic pesticide contamination.  The findings of the Task Force were published in 1999.  The Task Force recommended the sampling of former agricultural areas, particularly in areas where soils will be exposed to children (i.e. schools, daycare centers and playgrounds).  Indeed, under the Site Remediation Reform Act (“SRRA”) former agricultural land is considered an area of concern when the future use of a property includes sensitive populations.  Addendum 2 of the Task Force report lists the concentrations of pesticides included in the NJDEP Soil Cleanup Criteria (“SCC”).  While the Task Force report remains an informative document to be used in assessing a property, the pesticide concentrations included in the addenda are no longer the most up-to-date since the implementation of the New Jersey Soil Remediation Standards in June 2008, although for issues as house pests.  For this reason, it is critical that environmental professionals communicate with the laboratories completing the soil analysis.  The pesticide chlordane is an excellent example of the potential pitfalls to not clearly communicating with the laboratory about project needs.

The old pesticide list required investigators to analyze soil samples for alpha-chlordane (CAS No. 5103-71-9) and gamma-chlordane (CAS No. 5103-74-2) individually.  The current NJ Soil Remediation Standards (“SRS,” last updated October 3, 2011) require the analysis of total chlordane (CAS No. 57-74-9) instead of the individual compounds.  According to N.J.A.C. 7:26D (Table 1A and 1B), total chlordane is calculated by adding together alpha- and gamma-chlordane.

When requesting chlordane from an analytical laboratory, it is critical that you specify the correct chlordane and CAS number.  Unless otherwise specified, the laboratory may report technical chlordane (CAS No. 12789-03-6) which is a mixture of 23 different compounds that include chlordane isomers.  In our experience we have seen analytical results in which technical chlordane is more than double the concentration of total chlordane.

The development of farmland remains an attractive option to avoid environmental risks; however mistaking technical chlordane for total chlordane could mean the difference between compliant soil samples and a delayed project due to repeated rounds of soil sampling.

If you have any questions about Site Remediation, Soil Contamination or the NJDEP, feel free to email me at or leave a comment below!

UPDATE: NJDEP Remedial Priority Scoring

We have another update on our previous post on the NJDEP’s Remedial Priority Scoring System.  The NJDEP has, again, extended the deadline for submission of data on the RPS Feedback Form. The new submission deadline is September 30, 2012. This provides Persons Responsible for Conducting Remediation and associated LSRPs with more time to update Site information that could impact the RPS score.

If you have any questions, feel free to post them in the comments section below or email me at


Original Update: 7/19/12

NJDEP LogoWe have an update on our previous post on the NJDEP’s Remedial Priority Scoring System.  The NJDEP has extended the deadline for submission of data on the RPS Feedback Form to August 31, 2012. This provides more time to update the X and Y Site coordinates, extent areas for soil and groundwater, pathway information, and missing or rejected Electronic Data Deliverables (EDDs).

If you have any questions, feel free to post them in the comments section below or email me at


A Primer to NJ’s EPH Categories

Approved methods of compound analysis change all the time, and so do their associated regulations. While it is always advisable to read and become fully familiar with the most up to date versions of regulations that are available, sometimes what you need is a primer to help get you started. And that’s what this post is all about.

Previously in New Jersey, petroleum hydrocarbons were analyzed by the total petroleum hydrocarbon (TPH) analysis method 418.1, however, over time this method was systematically replaced through a series of evolving methods designed to address extractable petroleum hydrocarbons (EPH). The method eventually settled on, and which is now in place, is known as ‘NJDEP EPH Method Revision 3.’

Protocol for implementation of the EPH Method Revision 3 divides petroleum types into two categories. Category 1 deals with releases of diesel fuel and/or number 2 (No. 2) fuel oil, while category 2 deals with releases of petroleum hydrocarbon mixtures other than diesel fuel/No. 2 fuel oil such as: cutting oils, crude oils, hydraulic oils, lubricating oils, number 4 and number 6 fuel oils, and waste oils. Category 1 requires analysis of non-fractionated EPH only while category 2 utilizes analysis of both non-fractionated and fractioned EPH analysis.

One thing to keep in mind when analyzing for EPH is that, regardless of the category, contingent analysis of specific compounds may be required based on your EPH results. EPH concentrations that trigger contingent analysis are determined by Table 2-1 of the Technical Requirements for Site Remediation Guidance (known as the ‘Tech Rule’ or ‘N.J.A.C. 7:26E’). Contingent analysis triggers and parameters vary based on petroleum type, so make sure to package your samples accordingly!

The concentration of EPH present within a sample that warrants soil remediation is 5,100 ppm for category 1, residential exposure. This is referred to as the human health value. Soils with concentrations above 5,100 ppm must be treated or removed. Alternatively, engineering controls (like an asphalt cap) and institutional controls (like a deed notice) can be used to mitigate exposure. A concentration of 54,000 ppm is the human health value for category 1 non-residential exposure scenarios. A determination of the presence of EPH product is made for both the category 1 residential exposure scenario and the non-residential exposure scenario when the concentration of EPH reaches 8,000 ppm. Soils with EPH concentrations above 8,000 ppm must be removed.

The Department requires that an ecological evaluation be conducted when the concentration of non-fractionated EPH reaches 1,700 ppm. However, if you’re a homeowner, or if the site being evaluated doesn’t have any significant ecological receptors, you’re in luck! The NJDEP typically doesn’t require that an ecological evaluation be conducted in those instances.

For category 2, the 1,700 ppm ecological evaluation trigger can also serve as the trigger to analyze for fractionated analysis. Initially, non-fractionated EPH analysis is sufficient; however, concentrations over 1,700 require fractionated EPH data. Due to analysis turnaround times with labs, you may find it prudent to simply analyze category 2 soils for both non-fractionated and fractionated EPH at the same time. The human health value for category 2 can be calculated using the NJDEP’s EPH calculator spreadsheet. Simply input fractionated data and whether the scenario is residential or non-residential and the spreadsheet will indicate if additional remediation is necessary. A determination of the presence of EPH product for category 2 samples is made when the concentration of EPH reaches 17,000 ppm. As with category 1, soils with concentrations of EPH above 17,000 require removal while soils with concentrations below 17,000 that are calculated to be above the human health value may be treated, removed, or addressed with a combination of engineering and institutional controls.

For both category 1 and category 2 EPH analysis, the evaluation of sheen is determined utilizing the Department’s Sheen Remediation Guidance.

Now that you have the basics of the NJDEP’s EPH protocol down, please download (and read!) the complete NJDEP EPH Protocol Guidance document to learn more. Or if you have any questions, feel free to contact me at, or leave a comment in the reply section below. Happy sampling!

NJ Annual Fees in the Simplest Terms

NJDEP LogoThe New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) has replaced the past “hour-by-hour” oversight billing with a Site Remediation LSRP Annual Fee. This offers some advantages in terms of project budget planning, since the fees are fixed and predictable after you wade through confusing nuances. Your  Licensed Site Remediation Professional (LSRP) will guide you. If you have not retained a LSRP for your existing case, you need one.

The Way This Works
Your LSRP calculates your project’s annual fees for you and submits this information to the NJDEP in an Annual Fee Form. The cost of the fee is based on the number of contaminated areas of concern that have not been fully remediated as defined in N.J.A.C. 7:26E “NJ Tech Rule” last amended May 2012.

The annual fees must continue to be paid until all areas of concern have received a Response Action Outcome (similar to a No Further Action). Deadlines and other details regarding the fees are found in the Administrative Requirements for Remediation of Contaminated Sites Rule “ARRCS Rule”. The fee breakdown is as follows:

  • 0-1 Contaminated Areas of Concern $450.00
  • 2-10 Contaminated Areas of Concern $900.00
  • 11-20 Contaminated Areas of Concern $5,000.00
  • >20 Contaminated Areas of Concern $9,500.00

In addition to these amounts there are additional “contaminated media” fees of $1,400 (each) assessed if groundwater, sediment or surface water is impacted.  The Department estimates that most sites fall in Category 2. If no Annual Fee Form has been submitted, you will probably get a Site Remediation LSRP Annual Fee invoice for $900.00. Special considerations for underground storage tank sites apply, consult your LSRP.

This is not the sum total of your NJDEP fees, however. You are still responsible for past due oversight fees, fees related to remediation permits, and NJDEP direct oversight fees, if applicable. A handy link to check your project for past due fees is found here: Financial Obligation Summary Report. If your project’s closure strategy involves use of an engineering control (like a cap) or institutional control (like a Classification Exception Area (CEA)) you will continue to have ongoing fees.

Proper calculation and timely payment of fees is based on a good Preliminary Site Assessment and Site Investigation. If you receive a  Site Remediation LSRP Annual Fee  invoice from the NJDEP, forward it to your LSRP for review prior to paying it and don’t ignore notices. The NJDEP has the ability to assess fines and fees for non-compliance. Please feel free to contact me at with LSRP questions or leave a comment below.


Philadelphia’s Ghost Factories

USA Today’s recent investigation into ongoing lead contamination at sites of former lead smelters, which they term ‘Ghost Factories,’ has gotten a lot of coverage on environmental blogs lately. So, I decided to look and see what they say about Philadelphia. Not surprisingly, the majority of the smelter locations are in the east coast, with thirty-one located in Philly.

The newspaper’s method was to identify the location of former lead smelters (using Sanborn maps, of course), then went to 21 of those neighborhoods, and pointed an XRF analyzer at the ground, often in residents’ backyards. Most of these yards had elevated lead levels in the soil: 80% of of the neighborhoods had a median soil lead level above 80 ppm, several neighborhoods reached above 2,000 ppm. “Lead levels in the soil samples collected by USA TODAY were generally highest in places like Chicago, Cleveland and Philadelphia — where old inner-city neighborhoods mingled with industrial sites.”

The thrust of the story is the danger posed to children in these neighborhoods, and the lack of action by the EPA to address it.

Now, this bring up a few issue. First of all, it’s not like the EPA can conclusively hold the lead smelters accountable for contamination of an entire neighborhood. There are plenty of sources of lead in urban areas, it wouldn’t be hard to fight a charge. Yet, it shows a big gap in the superfund law. We do a lot of work to clean up brownfields. When a commercial transaction happens, due diligence functions as a useful screen to find out about contaminated sites and remediate them. Well, as long as there’s an interest in redevelopment. But no one conducts a Phase I when they buy an old rowhome in Kensington. What does USA Today think that the EPA is supposed to do here?

There are more than 400 of these ghost factories, only 230 are pinned down in this investigation. “Because most of the old smelters had operated for decades without any regulatory oversight and are now gone, little was known about the size of each factory, where they were located, how much lead they processed and how much pollution they left behind.” A start would be to find these factories. Then what, test everyone’s soil? Mount a massive education campaign? Pave every yard and park? It sounds a lot like the radon situation, a ubiquitous environmental hazard primarily affecting residences, and frustration about the EPA’s lack of action.

And speaking of Ghost Factories, REPSG’s own Jerry Naples received a shout-out on WHYY’s Radio Times recently. As part of the ongoing discussion of Ghost Factories in our city, Marty Moss-Coane featured the topic on her hour long PBS radio show Radio Times.  Her guests included USA Today reporter Allison Young, and Mary Seton Corboy, the founder of Greensgrow Farms in Kensington. Jerry Naples’ shout out came about halfway through the interview, when Mary was talking about the difficulty of developing neighborhood urban farms atop contaminated soils. Mary mentioned that Greensgrow was fortunate to have a member of their board who runs an environmental remediation company. That, my friends, would be REPSG.

You can download and listen to the whole interview on WHYY’s website here and hear how the USA Today’s report has started (or re-started) the conversation of residential pollution in urban environments.

Do you have any thoughts or questions about ghost factories, lead contamination, radon, or any environmental hazards in your community? Feel free to leave a comment below  or contact me at

Top 5 Challenges Lenders Face in Environmental Due Diligence

EDR surveyed 819 financial institutions that provided insight into the Environmental Due Diligence (EDD) challenges that they face. REPSG is a full service, customer conscious environmental firm that has the following commentary related to the below mentioned lender challenges:


Challenge #1: Environmental Reports and Risk-Based Decisions

  • Interpreting environmental results and knowing which risks to be concerned about
  • Finding out what the EP’s opinion is and determining whether the subject property has any environmental issues the bank should be concerned about

At REPSG, all EDD is performed by personnel who have many years of experience and meet the AAI and ASTM E1527-05 qualifications and can make coherent professional, environmental decisions. We make sure we understand the lenders risk tolerance and their overall lending goals. Our reporting is structured to clearly define what a Recognized Environmental Condition (REC) is and if it is a concern for the property in question. We clearly define the risks and recommendations in our reporting and follow up with the lender to ensure that any questions they may have are answered.


Challenge #2: Internal Education & Training

  • Understanding the importance of EDD in the context of the overall lending process
  • Educating senior management and loan officers

At REPSG we are very experience with lenders and their vary degree of EDD knowledge. We make sure that every lender understands the important that their personnel are knowledgeable and understands all of the potential EDD concerns and how it is a critical component of the bank’s overall risk management practices. We have meet with many lenders and presented case studies and conveyed the importance of knowing many risks involved with inadequate EDD or the choice not to require any EDD. We are contracted by many banks to perform a third party review of EDD reporting to endure that the EDD assessment was conducted in compliance with AAI and ASTM E1527-05 standards and that our professional judgment and that of the report writers professional judgment coincide with each other. Our goal is to make sure the lender understands their environmental risk.


Challenge #3: Turnaround Time

  • Meeting the challenges of efficiently conducting EDD

At REPSG, we know what items required for EDD take time and therefore have a system down that allows us to efficiently turnaround an EDD assessment to meet the client’s needs and the AAI and ASTM E1527-05 standards. The federal, state and local review of records is one of the most important and time consuming requirements of EDD, which REPSG makes a priority during our EDD research. We have experience turning around an assessment anywhere from two days to two weeks.


Challenge #4: EDD Decisions

  • Balancing EDD costs against risk tolerance
  • Determining appropriate EDD levels

At REPSG, we are very focused on what our customer’s ultimate goals and needs are for the property. We emphasize for them if the site’s history will pose large environmental risk and expense and if the risk is manageable through the longer and more intense regulatory process or possibly the more simplified construction and disposal process. Being able to breakdown the risk and type of management for a site can clarify the level of environmental liability related to the size of the loan.


Challenge #5: Competitive Issues

  • Justifying EDD costs to customers
  • Requiring borrowers to pay for a Phase I when a competing bank doesn’t.

At REPSG, we encourage lenders to compare our comprehensive EDD assessments to others. This comparison justifies the need for the assessment as well as being able to pass on the costs to their customer. We are very focused on producing a site-specific assessments tailored to identify the RECs and risks involved at each property.

Reviewing the ASTM Phase I ESA Standard

ASTM LogoThe American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) is a standards organization headquartered right outside of Philadelphia in Conshohocken, PA. ASTM publishes technical standards for a range of products, materials, and services. REPSG conducts our famous Phase I Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs) in accordance with the ASTM Phase I Standard entitled “Standard Practice for Environmental Site Assessments: Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Process.” This standard is commonly referenced as E 1527.

ASTM E 1527 was last revised in 2005, when the United State Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) released the ‘All Appropriate Inquiries Rule’. According to the ASTM by laws, standards must be updated at least every eight years, and beginning last fall, an ASTM Task Group has been meeting to once again review the text of E 1527. Revisions to the standard have been proposed that would strengthen and clarify the requirements of E 1527.

Some of the key proposed updates to E 1527 were highlighted by Environmental Data Resources (EDR). Three of the proposed revisions include:

  • Introduction of the term “Controlled Recognized Environmental Condition.” Past soil and/or groundwater contamination which had been remediated would be classified as a CREC. This designation will be addition to recognized environmental conditions (RECs) and historical recognized environmental conditions (hRECs).
  • Expanded discussion on how vapor encroachment should be addressed in a Phase I ESA. In the new E 1527 draft, a vapor plume is proposed to be treated as any other source of contamination. (ASTM published a vapor encroachment standard in 2010 entitled “Standard Guide for Vapor Encroachment on Property Involved in Real Estate Transactions” E 2600-10. Stay tuned for upcoming blog posts about vapor!)
  • Clarification about when regulatory file reviews need to be completed during the course of a Phase I ESA.

The ASTM Task Group is anticipated to publish the updated E 1527 in 2013, but the standard will have to be approved by the USEPA.

As E 1527 evolves, REPSG will continue to provide the most current, highest quality reporting to its clients. If you have any questions about what these updates will mean for you and your property, drop us a line! Each of us on the Phase I team have copies of E 1527 and E 2600 within arms’ reach (and no, I’m not kidding!)

NJDEP Remedial Priority Scoring

NJDEP Remedial Priority Scoring System – What You Need to Know.

You might be reading this post because you just received a letter from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) letting you know that you have been identified as the responsible person for conducting a remediation and that the NJDEP will be ranking your project using the Remedial Priority Scoring (RPS) System. This is not a cause for alarm and you are not alone. This system will be used to rankNew Jersey’s approximately 12,000 sites and the scores will be made public via the NJDEP’s website. Buyers, lenders and insurers can be expected to review a property’s score before proceeding with a transaction. As a result, the accuracy of a property’s score is of paramount importance.

What is New Jersey’s new Remedial Priority Scoring (RPS) System?

RPS is a computerized model that is designed to help the NJDEP categorize contaminated sites based on potential risk to public health, safety or the environment. Once the RPS Score is determined it is catalogued for relative ranking with sites with similar scores and placed into Categories 1 through 5. Category 1 represents the lowest score and thus the least potential risk through Category 5 which represents the highest score and thus the greatest potential risk. It should be noted that the information used by NJDEP will be derived solely from electronic databases maintained by NJDEP, based on reviews of already received letters, this creates the potential for erroneous assessments as these databases may not contain the most accurate and current information. Steps should be taken to make sure your site has the correct score.

What Should You Do If You Have Received a Letter from NJDEP on your Remedial Priority Ranking?

If you have received a letter from the NJDEP regarding your ranking it is important that you work quickly with your LSRP to make sure the information is accurate. You have until August 10, 2012 to utilize an online feedback loop in order to have your ranking recalculated.

If you have not already retained an LSRP for your Site or are unfamiliar with the LSRP program, a Licensed Site Remediation Professional (LSRP) is now required to be retained to insure that remediation is being conducted according to NJDEP requirements. An LSRP is licensed by the State ofNew Jerseyand is required to adhere to strict guidelines to insure that remediation is completed with environmental, ecological and human receptors in mind. Once retained, in addition to insuring an adequate and efficient remediation from start to finish, an LSRP can provide detailed reviews of remediation that has already begun before moving it forward to completion. It is in this capacity that an LSRP can be tremendously useful in identifying errors in the RPS score.

Have you received a letter from NJDEP on your Remedial Priority Ranking? What’s been your experience been with the process? I would love to hear from you. If you have further questions about how to handle this process, feel free to post them in the comments section below or email me at

Welcome to Our New Blog!



Today, the launch of this blog represents a complete transformation of the original company. With our accumulated skills and experienced homegrown staff,  we consider ourselves a  dominant turn-key environmental compliance services company for large, medium and small companies in the region in and surrounding Philadelphia providing peace of mind in uncertain situations and transforming precarious environmental issues into predictable possibilities.

I am honored to have such a smart, knowledgeable and energetic staff that is willing and able to provide valuable stories, updates and insights regarding the so-called mysterious world of environmental regulatory compliance. This blog is mainly for our customers to give them an edge on what’s happening in an ever changing regulatory climate. We also welcome those who are just browsing to join in on the conversations that dominate our days. The conversations will likely focus on the black, the grey and the white of environmental regulations, remediation and compliance.

We will zero in on issues that impact environmental compliance on real estate –specifically regarding soil, groundwater, and indoor air quality. Hopefully there will be something that catches your interest or directly relates to your past, current or future experience. Our staff has diverse backgrounds and experience so we will try to explore every facet of our business. We will also look to explore and discuss the perils of our customers businesses such as real estate development, management, banking, general contracting, or specific industries like oil, transportation or manufacturing.

In 1981, my partner, Jerry Naples started a company to address new environmental regulations.  In 1989, Jerry “walked the walk” and purchased a 60-year old local oil terminal in southwest Philadelphia, which we cleaned up and still call home. By the early 1990s, the company evolved into an important spill response contractor for major transportation and oil companies; which was sometimes lucrative, but was also harrowing and hectic, to say the least.  At the same time, we began to understand the maturation of our market and focused on efficient fixed-price contracting for soil, groundwater and indoor air remediation.  As we gained understanding of the bigger picture and the needs of our customers, we also began to take on a consulting and management role which not only allowed us to be a smart contractor, but at the same time be a hands-on, practical and valuable consultant.

With that said, I’d like to officially welcome you to REPSG blog and invite you to engage with us in whatever way you are most comfortable—email, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or by simply picking up the phone. We welcome your comments and look forward to hearing from you!

NJ Appeals Court Rules NJDEP Acted Beyond Their Powers under ISRA and SRRA

A New Jersey state appeals court ruling issued Friday, July 6, 2012 said the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) does not always have the authority to require owners or operators of industrial sites to certify the land is “clean” before it is sold and redeveloped. Since the passage of the Environmental Cleanup Responsibility Act (ECRA) in 1983, the NJDEP has required property owners to remediate contamination before the land could be sold, transferred or the industrial facility operating at the site could be closed. Many laws have been issued in the past decades to define and revise this cleanup process, including the Industrial Site Remediation Act (ISRA) of 1993 and, most recently, the Site Remediation Reform Act (SRRA) of 2009.

According to the ruling by the three-judge panel of the Superior court of New Jersey, The NJDEP went too far when officials informed Des Champs Laboratories Inc. that in order to sell their Livingston, NJ property, the company had to certify that, to the best of the owners’ knowledge, contamination on the property had fallen below a certain level. The NJDEP was enforcing a provision of NJAC 7:26B 5.9, most recently amended by the NJDEP in May of 2012.

The court’s decision stated that:

 “We conclude that the department, despite its important regulatory role and its expertise over environmental matters, acted in the present context beyond its legislatively delegated powers,”

The three-judge appellate panel also said that no action can be taken on the sites for 30 days, giving time for a potential appeal to the state Supreme Court.

The case centered on the NJDEP’s rejection of Des Champs’ request for a ‘de minimis’ quantity exemption from ISRA’s requirement for site investigation. The court ruled that the state cannot require a landowner to investigate soil and groundwater conditions at a property when the landowner has affirmed that only insignificant (‘de minimus’) amounts of hazardous materials were historically used at the site.  However, the court was clear that the ruling was not intended to limit the NJDEP’s authority to enforce other environmental statutes, most notably the Spill Act. The NJDEP has not announced whether or not they intend to appeal the ruling.

REPSG will continue to follow this story and the response of the legal community to this ruling. Look for follow up posts. Please feel free to post your comments and responses here. Any confidential questions regarding ISRA compliance, SRRA or the recent May 2012 amendments or issues on your projects can be directed to and one of our qualified professionals will respond quickly.

Press Release: REPSG featured by Jewell & Associates

REPSG was recently featured by Jewell & Associates in a case study regarding our use of the Deltek VisionTM program. Use of Deltek Vision has promoted REPSG’s dedication to excellence.

Project managers can now access and analyze project information. Robust reporting tools have allowed information to be pushed to key personnel via dashboards. Business development efforts are efficient since activities, leads and opportunities are tracked in Vision.

The dashboards have also allowed REPSG to “Go Green” internally.

Please visit PR Web to read the full press release. The full case study is also available.