In September, NJDEP’s Contaminated Site Remediation and Redevelopment program (CSRR) issued new guidance (the Administrative Guidance for Green, Sustainable, and Resilient Remediation) encouraging the use of green and sustainable remediation (GSR) and a focus on resiliency during the remediation of contaminated sites under state statutes and rules. 

As defined in NJDEP’s guidance document, GSR is “the site-specific employment of products, processes, technologies, and procedures that mitigate contaminant risk to receptors while making decisions that are cognizant of balancing community goals, economic impact, and environmental effects.”  The stated goals of incorporating GSR into remediation activities include addressing threats posed by climate change, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, minimizing adverse impacts on overburdened communities, and making cleanups more efficient without weakening remedial plans.

In short, with the issuance of its GSR guidance, NJDEP is encouraging persons responsible for remediation to factor in considerations around carbon emission reductions, sustainability practices, resilience to climate impacts, and community-level impacts (such as environmental justice impacts) into their remediation practices and decision making.  NJDEP intends for the GSR guidance to be in alignment with the Department’s existing initiatives on addressing climate change, increasing resilience, and prioritizing environmental justice, but notes that a remediating party’s use of GSR “neither exempts nor precludes a person’s obligation to remediate to all applicable standards, guidance, regulations, and statutes,” as set forth in the Administrative Requirements for the Remediation of Contaminated Sites (ARRCS) at N.J.A.C. 7:26C-1.2.