On September 18, 2017, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) revised their soil remediation standards (SRS) for 19 organic and inorganic constituents. NJDEP revised the soil remediation standards based upon changes made in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS).

Of important note, the residential and non-residential SRS for benzo(a)pyrene (BAP) and tetrachloroethene (PCE) were increased by a significant margin. However, the SRS for TCE (a breakdown product of PCE) were decreased slightly.


Residential SRS

Non-Residential SRS

Benzo(a)pyrene (BAP)

[0.2] 0.5

[0.2] 2

Tetrachloroethene (PCE)

[2] 43

[5] 1,500

Trichloroethene (TCE)

[7] 3

[20] 10

All values in mg/kg. Numbers in [ ] indicate original SRS.

These new standards could have a dramatic impact on the scope of remediation projects at a variety of sites given the ubiquitous presence of benzo(a)pyrene in New Jersey soils. At non-residential properties, the new BAP standard could obviate the need to install and maintain a cap, thereby eliminating long term financial obligations. Dry cleaning site cleanups could also be significantly altered by the new standards; however, default impact to groundwater values for PCE – which were not changed by this regulatory revision - can often be a driver of remediation at these sites. NJDEP has been in the process of attempting to address its guidance on default impact to groundwater values for volatile organic compounds (VOCs) for some time, but has not issued a revised guidance as yet.