Last week the NJDEP issued a Compliance Advisory reminding the regulated community that, despite the COVID-19 concerns, all of the requirements to notify NJDEP remain in effect.
The reason for the reminder is so that the regulated community continues to be diligent in their efforts to notify NJDEP in accordance with applicable environmental statutes, rules and their operating permits. As these are unpredictable times, there could be operational disruptions, shutdowns or other failures that unintentionally cause permit exceedances or additional concerns that may require notification to NJDEP, such as spills or discharges of hazardous substances. These notifications are critical to inform NJDEP as well as other specified governmental agencies about potential impacts to the environment and human health and safety.
As such, there is no reprieve to notify NJDEP if notification obligations are triggered by circumstances, whether or not a true emergency exists. NJDEP has indicated that they may pursue enforcement action and penalties against those entities that fail to comply with the NJDEP mandated notification requirements. Although it is unclear how aggressive NJDEP will be in enforcing these notification requirements, it would be prudent to continue to effectively monitor your business’s reporting and notification obligations during this chaotic time. If you need assistance in evaluating whether a reporting obligation exists for your business, please feel free to reach out to one of our environmental attorneys.