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New Mitigation Requirements for General Permits
November 2, 2009

On November 2, 2009, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (“NJDEP”) amended the Freshwater Wetlands Protection Act Rules (N.J.A.C. 7:7A) to require mitigation for General Permits. Mitigation will be required for permit and temporary disturbances to freshwater wetlands over 0.1 acres. The mitigation requirements adopted by NJDEP will incur additional costs and time to projects that previously were considered to have individual and cumulative minimal impacts to freshwater wetlands. Costs include an estimated $300,000/acre for wetlands impacted and additional consulting fees.  An activity authorized under these General Permits cannot be started for four (4) months from the time a mitigation proposal is presented to the NJDEP. The mitigation must also occur before or concurrent to the activity.

General Permits requiring mitigation are as follows:

  • General Permit #2 – Underground Utility Lines
  • General Permit #4 – Hazardous Site Investigation and Cleanup (no change from previously adopted rules)
  • General Permit #5 – Landfill Closures
  • General Permit #6 – Non-tributary Wetlands
  • General Permit #10 – Road Crossings
  • General Permit #11 – Outfall and Intake Structures
  • General Permit #21 – Above Ground Utility Lines
  • General Permit #27 – Redevelopment of Previously Disturbed Areas

As taken from the adopted regulations: “Mitigation shall be performed for all permanent loss and/or disturbance of 0.1 acres or greater of freshwater wetlands or State open waters. Mitigation shall be performed for permanent loss and/or disturbance of less than 0.1 acres of freshwater wetlands or State open waters unless the applicant demonstrates to the Department that all activities have been designed to avoid and minimize impacts to wetlands. For purposes of this subsection, “minimize” means that the project is configured so that most or all of it is contained in the uplands on the site, and that the wetlands are avoided to the greatest extent possible”.

This mitigation requirement will have an economic impact on projects in the design or feasibility stages. For a smaller project (disturbance to less than 1.5 acres of freshwater wetlands or State open waters), NJDEP presumes that onsite mitigation is not feasible and credits must be purchased in wetland mitigation banks. (Depending on the project on-site mitigation options may be available.) The credits should be purchased from a mitigation bank in the same watershed, if available, or a wetlands bank in the service area approved by the Wetland Mitigation Council prior to January 1, 1999. If no mitigation banks are available a contribution can be made Wetland Mitigation Council or upland preservation (five (5) acres or greater).

If mitigation bank credits are available within the same watershed (HUC 11) or a bank within an adjacent service area the purchase costs for credits are approximately $400,000/acre of freshwater wetlands impacted. Larger impacts have a similar mitigation process with a possibility of on-site mitigation. If on-site or a mitigation bank is not available, contributions to the Wetland Mitigation Council are required as follows:

  • A single family house: impact to freshwater wetlands x $38,000/acre of impact = mitigation contribution.
  • All other property owners (commercial, residential or industrial projects) impact to freshwater wetland x $300,000/acre of impact = mitigation contribution.

As an example of the new mitigation requirements: A commercial project with .15 acres of impacts (road crossings and outfalls) has a calculated contribution of $45,000 to the Wetland Mitigation Council if mitigation bank credits are not available.

Please contact Bob Carter at Marathon Engineering & Environmental Services, Inc at 856-241-9705 with any questions

How to Obtain Non-Residential Fee Refund
October 30, 2009

Hopefully, by this time, all of you know that Governor Corzine signed Legislation that would substantially revise the obligation of developers under Assembly Bill 500 to contribute 2.5 % of the assessed value of nonresidential developments to either the municipality’s affordable housing trust fund or the New Jersey Affordable Housing Trust Fund, if the municipality isn’t authorized to accept nonresidential development fees.  This bill provides a window of opportunity for nonresidential projects to be exempt from the required 2.5 % contribution under their COAH obligation.  The New Jersey Builders Association just put out the following press release on how to obtain your non-residential refund:
"As part of the NJ Economic Stimulus Act of 2009 that was signed into law on July 27, 2009, a provision has temporarily suspended the Non-Residential Development Fee Act.  Projects that receive preliminary or final site plan approval prior to July 1, 2010, and for which a building permit is issued prior to January 1, 2013 will not be subject to any non-residential development fee. Also, any developer that has paid a non-residential development fee since July 17, 2008 may claim a refund based on certain criteria. Developers will need to submit the N-RDF Claim Form to request a refund. The deadline to submit a claim with supporting documentation is November 30, 2009.
For more information, please seek the Public Notice and the FAQ on the subject. The claim form is available online here: N-RDF Claim Form."

Site Remediation Act Signed into Law
May 7, 2009

On May 7th, Governor Jon S. Corzine signed into law the Site Remediation Reform Act (the Act). The Act drastically changes the way due diligence investigatons and remediations will be completed in New Jersey. The Act requires the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) to create a licensed site professional (LSP) remediation program giving private-practice environmental consultants who meet the minimum standards set forth in the bill the authority to certify that clean-up projects have met the NJDEP requirements. In place of the “no further action,” the licensed site professional will issue a Response Action Outcome to certify that the investigation and remediation are complete. The NJDEP would be required to establish a licensing board to oversee the program and provide random review and audits of cases to ensure that licenced site professionals are acting in good faith in their completion of remediation projects. Marathon will continue to monitor the progress of the NJDEP’s implementation of the LSP bill and its effects on new and existing cases. For more information on the Licensed Site Professional Bill and its implementation, please contact Bob Carter at (856)-241-9705 or bob.carter@marathonconsultants.com.

Licensed Site Professionals Bill Approved by Senate
March 17, 2009

A bill sponsored by Senator Bob Smith, Chairman of the Senate Environment Committee, which establishes a licensed site remediation professional program in New Jersey was apprvoved by both the Assemby and Senate on March 16, 2009. The bill drastically changes the way due diligence investigatons and remediations will be completed in New Jersey. The bill requires the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) to create a licensed site professional remediation program giving private-practice environmental consultants who meet the minimum standards set forth in the bill the authority to certify that clean-up projects have met the NJDEP requirements. In place of the “no further action,” the licensed site professional will issue a Response Action Outcome to certify that the investigation and remediation are complete. The NJDEP would be required to establish a licensing board to oversee the program and provide random review and audits of cases to ensure that licenced site professionals are acting in good faith in their completion of remediation projects. The bill now goes to Governor Corzine to be signed into law. Marathon will continue to monitor the progress of the NJDEP’s implementation of this bill and its effects on new and existing cases. For more information on the Licensed Site Professional Bills, please contact Bob Carter at (856)-241-9705 or bob.carter@marathonconsultants.com.

Permit Extension Act Signed
September 8, 2008

MAJOR PROVISIONS:

1.  The time period for the permit extension is January 1, 2007 – July 1, 2010, with up to an additional 6 months phase-in period to December 31, 2010.  That amounts to a maximum 4 year permit extension period.

2.  Permits and approvals that are typically required for subdivision and site plan approval in New Jersey will be extended.

3.  Permits and approvals will not be extended in a defined “environmentally sensitive area”, which means:

    1. State Plan Planning Area 4B (Rural/Environmentally Sensitive)
    2. State Plan Planning Area 5 (Environmentally Sensitive)
    3. Highlands except for a growth area pursuant to the Highlands Regional Master Plan
    4. Pinelands except for any growth area designated in the Comprehensive Management Plan

4.  Except for Right-of-Way permits, permits and approvals issued by the Department of Transportation will not be extended.

5.  Permits and approvals that are issued under the Flood Hazard Area Control Act will not be extended, EXCEPT “where work has commenced, in any phase or section of the development, on any site improvement as defined in the Municipal Land Use Law (MLUL), or on any buildings or structures.”

6. Coastal Center designations will not be extended where (1) an application for Plan Endorsement was not submitted to the State Planning Commission as of March 15, 2007 and (2) designations were not in compliance with the Coastal Zone Management rules.

7. The Act does not affect DEP-issued Administrative Consent Orders that are in effect or are issued during the extension period.

8. Where an approval tolled under the Act is based upon connection to a sanitary sewer system, the extension is contingent upon the treatment facility having sufficient capacity to accommodate that development.  If there is not sufficient capacity, those with permit extensions will have priority for further allocation of gallonage over those permit holders who did not receive hookup approval prior to PEA’s enactment.

9. The DEP Commissioner would retain the ability to revoke or modify specific permits or approval where DEP is authorized to do so under the permit or approval.  This revocation or modification can also occur with those permits or approvals that qualify for extension.

10. The Act does not modify any requirements related to State’s authority for delegation or assumption to implement a federal law or program (i.e. Wetlands program).   Similarly it does not affect any permits or approvals issued by the U.S. government (or any of its agency or instrumentality) where its duration, date or expiration terms are specified or determined under a federal law or regulation.

11. The Act does not limit counties/municipalities’ obligation of submission of wastewater management plans or plan updates, as required under the newly adopted Water Quality Management Planning rules.

For more information on the Permit Extension Act, please contact Rick Ricciardi of our Swedesboro office at rick.ricciardi@marathonconsultants.com or (856) 241-9705.

Marathon Engineering Receives 2008 Best of Swedesboro Award
July 20, 2008

U.S. Local Business Association’s Award Plaque Honors the Achievement

WASHINGTON D.C., July 20, 2008 -- Marathon Engineering has been selected for the 2008 Best of Swedesboro Award in the Consulting Engineers category by the U.S. Local Business Association (USLBA).

The USLBA "Best of Local Business" Award Program recognizes outstanding local businesses throughout the country. Each year, the USLBA identifies companies that they believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and community.

Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2008 USLBA Award Program focused on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the USLBA and data provided by third parties.

About U.S. Local Business Association (USLBA)

U.S. Local Business Association (USLBA) is a Washington D.C. based organization funded by local businesses operating in towns, large and small, across America. The purpose of USLBA is to promote local business through public relations, marketing and advertising.

The USLBA was established to recognize the best of local businesses in their community. Our organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations, chambers of commerce and other business advertising and marketing groups. Our mission is to be an advocate for small and medium size businesses and business entrepreneurs across America.

SOURCE: U.S. Local Business Association

CONTACT:
U.S. Local Business Association
Email: PublicRelations@USLBA.net
URL: http://www.USLBA.net

Marathon Engineering Named to "25 Fastest Growing Private Companies is South Jersey", Again!
June 12, 2008

Marathon was named to the "25 Fastest Growing Private Companies in South Jersey" List for 2008 as recognized by the Philadelphia Business Journal and the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Rowan University. Marathon was also named in the top 25 for 2004.

NJDEP Adopts Remediation Standards
June 2, 2008

On June 2, 2008, the NJDEP adopted new Remediation Standards (N.J.A.C. 7:9D) to implement the provisions of the Brownfield and Contaminated Site Remediation Act (N.J.S.A. 58:10B-12).  The Remediation Standards establish the minimum standards for the remediation of contaminated soil, groundwater, and/or surface water.  The NJDEP also readopted the Technical Requirements for Site Remediation with amendments including the New Remediation Standards. 

Under the NJDEP’s Remediation Standards, minimum residential direct contact and non-residential direct contact soil remediation standards have been established to replace the previous Soil Cleanup Criteria, dated May 12, 1999.  In a change from the proposed rules, the NJDEP did not adopt the minimum impact to ground water soil remediation standards in the new Remediation Standards.  According to the NJDEP, the impact to groundwater will be developed on a site-by-site basis with a new guidance manuals being issued.  With regards to the groundwater and surface water standards, the NJDEP is applying the standards from those rules that have previously been adopted under N.J.A.C. 7:9C and N.J.A.C. 7:9B, respectively.

The new Remediation Standards could have far reaching implications depending on the site and contaminants of concern.  The NJDEP will institute a six month grace period for the implementation of the Remediation Standards.  The cut-off date for the grace period is December 2, 2008.  After that date, a contaminated site must have an approved remedial action workplan or remedial action report and the change in standard for the contaminants of concern from the old soil cleanup criteria to the new Remediation Standard cannot be an order of magnitude or more.  Furthermore, owners of any sites previously remediated with institutional controls (Deed Notices) will be required to compare the concentrations of contaminants of concern left in place in the soil with the new Remediation Standards in their next biennial certification.  If there is a change in standard from the old soil cleanup criteria to the new Remediation Standard that is an order of magnitude or more, then the owner must evaluate the protectiveness of human health and the environment and if necessary, remediate additional areas. 

The following are some notable changes to the Remediation Standards:

  • Several of the residential standards for semivolatile organic compounds have changed such as decreases for benzo(a)pyrene; benzo(a)anthracene and benzo(b)flouranthene.  The most notable are orders of magnitude or more changes in anthracene from 100,000 mg/kg to 17,000 mg/kg and naphthalene from 230 mg/kg to 6 mg/kg.   

  • There are no changes of an order of magnitude or more for metals except for thallium which changed from 1,000 mg/kg to 5 mg/kg.    There have been several increases in the standards for metals such as antimony, beryillium, copper, cadmium, mercury, nickel, silver and zinc.  The Remediation Standards have decreased for selenium and vanadium.

  • There are semivolatile compounds (acenaphthylene; benzo(g,h,i)perylene and phenanthrene)  and metals (cobalt and manganese) where the non-residential standards are higher than the residential standards due to the assumptions used to calculate the standards by the NJDEP.  In these instances, the non-residential standards assume inhalation exposure due to dust generated by truck traffic on a non-residential site as opposed to an ingestion exposure on a residential site. 

  • There have been several changes to volatile organic compounds such as decreases in the residential standards for benzene, TCE, PCE and vinyl chloride and increases in the ethylbenzene, toluene and xylenes residential standards.  Formerly, the impact to groundwater soil cleanup criteria for volatile organic compounds was the lowest of the criteria for soil and used to establish remediation goals.  The NJDEP will now establish site specific impact to groundwater soil standards on a case by case basis.  Marathon cautions establishing remediation objectives using the new Remediation Standards for volatile organic compounds without considering potential impacts to groundwater.  The NJDEP is in the process of releasing guidance documents for the establishment of impact to groundwater standards.

  • There are several minor changes to the residential standards for contaminants typically associated with agricultural sites such as a change in the arsenic standard from 20 milligrams per kilogram (“mg/kg”) to 19 mg/kg; and a change in the dieldrin standard from 0.042 mg/kg to 0.040 mg/kg.  There are other changes to organochlorine pesticides; however, none are an order of magnitude or more, with some actually being increased (toxaphene from 0.1 mg/kg to 0.6 mg/kg).

The new rules can be found at  http://www.nj.gov/dep/srp/regs/rs/rs_rule.pdf.  For more information on the new Remediation Standards, please contact Bob Carter of our Swedesboro office at Bob.carter@marathonconsultants.com or (856) 241-9705.

NJDEP Adopts Updated Landscape Project Mapping (Versions 2.1 and 3.0)
May 19, 2008

The NJDEP uses the Landscape Project mapping to identify critical wildlife habitat in accordance with land use regulations, including the Freshwater Wetlands Protection Act Rules (N.J.A.C. 7:7A), Flood Hazard Area Control Act Rules (N.J.A.C. 7:13), and Rules on Coastal Zone Management (N.J.A.C. 7:7E).  The Landscape Project mapping is one resource used by the NJDEP to establish wetland resource value classifications (wetland buffers).

Recently released versions of the Landscape Project (Versions 2.1 and 3.0) (May 2008) involve several changes to critical habitat mapping that was previously used by the NJDEP under Version 2.0, which may affect (positively or negatively) projects.

The NJDEP Landscape Project is a landscape-level approach to the conservation of imperiled (threatened and endangered) wildlife species in New Jersey. Through geographic information system (GIS) technology, the Landscape Project maps depict critical wildlife habitat throughout the state based on the integration of species location data, land-use/land-cover, and species life history information (Niles et al. 2008).

For additional information, please contact Don Brickner in our Swedesboro office.

Source: Niles, L.J., M. Valent, P. Winkler and P. Woerner. 2008. New Jersey’s Landscape Project, Version 2.1. New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Fish and Wildlife, Endangered and Nongame Species Program.

PROPOSED AMENDMENTS TO THE NEW JERSEY FRESHWATER WETLAND PROTECTION ACT RULES AND REGULATIONS
November 15, 2007

The Public Comment Period for the proposed amendments to the New Jersey Freshwater Wetland Protection Act which was set to close on November 2, 2007 will be extended by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) until January 2, 2008.

There are going to be significant changes to the Freshwater Wetlands Protection Act that will result in less flexibility and predictability in developing sites and increased costs in preparing and obtaining Wetland Permits. Some of the significant changes include the following:

Municipalities would have the authority to require a Letter of Interpretation (LOI) from the builder/developer, while under the current rules; such action is preempted by the Freshwater Wetlands Protection Act. Since preemption is stipulated in the Freshwater Wetlands Protection Act, this rule proposal would require legislative action. This requirement would result in delays in the site plan/subdivision process since a municipality could defer the review of the application until the LOI is obtained from the NJDEP.

Wetland encroachments covered under a General Permit (GP) are to be minimized to the maximum extent practicable and an alternatives analysis will be required for certain GPs. This requirement, in essence, would treat each GP as an Individual Permit, thereby resulting in a much stricter set of criteria being applied by the NJDEP in their review of General Permit applications. This requirement would remove the predictability that is needed by the builder/developer to determine potential development intensity.

There are going to be restrictions on the usage of GPs. If the wetland fill under a GP Permit application exceeds 0.5 acres, it cannot be combined with other GPs to achieve the maximum one acre fill that is permitted under the GP Program. The activity will then have to be reviewed and approved as an IP. This will reduce the flexibility of developing a site as well as the degree of predictability since a more difficult review criteria must be satisfied in order for the Permit to be issued. GP10A and 10B for road crossings can not be combined for the same property and therefore would require an IP. Also, wetland mitigation will be required for road crossings.

The GP for underground utility lines is going to be modified such that the area of wetland disturbance will be reduced from 1 acre to 0.5 acre. This will result in the need to obtain an IP for activities that otherwise have been deemed by the legislature to have minimal impact upon wetlands.

The GP for non-tributary wetlands (isolated wetlands) is going to be modified to require mitigation for all fills under this GP. This will result in significantly greater costs in the development of sites by as much as $400,000 per acre. The GP will also not be issued until the mitigation proposal is approved by the NJDEP.

The GP for outfalls and intake structures will require mitigation which will add cost and time in obtaining these approvals.

There are changes to the rules pertaining to transition areas. If an approved Transition Area Waiver (TAW) is not implemented within 5 years of authorization by the NJDEP, then the TAW will expire and a new TAW will be required. This rule proposal is complicated by the fact that all TAWs must have a conservation easement filed with the County Clerk’s Office immediately upon approval of your application and therefore an encumbrance of the site will still exist beyond the 5 year permit authorization.

All GPs will require that a title search be performed for the property from June 30, 1989 to the present to show the ownership interest. This will result in increased costs and delays.

Wetland applications will be required to have historic, archaeological and architectural surveys performed for all applications that have a high probability for historic and archaeological resources. This will add significant time and costs to the preparation of Wetland Permit applications. Also, how will the applicant know whether a site has a high probability for such resources until after the application is submitted? This section of the rules will also require that no building or structure over the age of 50 years be demolished prior to receiving Wetland Permits.

A copy of this rule proposal can be viewed at http://www.nj.gov/dep/rules/notices.html.

Marathon retained for West Deptford Power Plant Design
November 6, 2007

Marathon Engineering & Environmental Services, Inc. announced today that it has been retained by an affiliate of East Brunswick based LS Power to perform certain engineering, environmental permitting and design support for a natural gas fired electric generating plant being developed in West Deptford.

Marathon Engineering & Environmental Services, Inc., headquartered in Swedesboro, NJ, is a civil engineering and environmental consulting firm serving the Delaware Valley. Rick Ricciardi, President, states that “...our history of performance on large projects has resulted in Marathon being retained for this project and is indicative of our growth and increased stature as a Delaware Valley firm”. Marathon’s staff is comprised of engineers, planners, scientists, geologists, IT specialists and designers enabling it to address a wide array of projects ranging from site planning to land use permitting and environmental due diligence services. Ricciardi adds that “Through the synergy of the engineering and environmental disciplines, Marathon offers unique capabilities in a difficult regulatory environment”.