Howard Davis P.C.


DEP Issuing Remedial Priority Score Letters

July 11, 2012

The Spill Compensation and Control Act, N.J.S.A. 58:10-23.11 et al., obligates DEP to create a ranking system that categorizes sites using a variety of factors, including the level of risk to the public health, safety or the environment, the length of time the site has been undergoing remediation, and the economic impact of the contaminated site on the municipality and surrounding property. N.J.S.A. 58:10-23.16. 

DEP created the ranking system with the establishment of the Remedial Priority System, a computerized model that, according to DEP’s letter, uses several geographic databases and data layers and site specific information, including groundwater, soil, and vapor intrusion sampling results (to the extent such results exist) to determine the site score.

Formulaically, the RPS score = site condition score x receptor score x pathway score. The site condition score is apparently determined by the type and extent of contamination present at the site; the receptor score related to the proximity of receptors (a human or natural resource) to the site and the existence of pathway between the receptor and the contamination. The pathway score is either 0 or 1, with 0 being assigned if no pathway exists and 1 assigned if a pathway exists between the contamination and the receptor. Data is entered into the formula and sites are ranked 1 through 5, with 1 representing the sites with the least possible risk and 5 representing sites with the greatest risk. DEP advises it will use the RPS rank to determine whether appropriate remedial measures are being taken at the site or whether direct DEP oversight is appropriate.

Since the site rankings are generated based on data that the Department enters into its database, HazSites, it is important that the data is complete and correct.  Therefore, DEP is sending out the RPS letter providing recipients the opportunity to  review the information contained in the form which is attached to the letter. If the information is incorrect, the DEP must be contacted with any updates and/or corrections. It is a two-part process, subject to two important deadlines.  

July 13, 2012: The date by which recipients must register online and decide, if sought, to request any information used by the DEP in developing its preliminary RPS score.

August 10, 2012: The date by which the recipients LSRP must file any updates or corrections to DEP.

If a Remedial Priority Score letter from DEP has been received, we welcome your call to discuss the meaning and implications regarding the site as well as an appropriate response to DEP.