A recent written opinion by NJDEP may allow certain soil disposal facilities in New Jersey to remain open as ‘essential construction services’. Many “soil disposal facilities” in New Jersey are actually contaminated former industrial sites (aka, brownfields) that are being cleaned up and redeveloped into productive uses. These sites beneficially reuse the imported surplus soils for capping existing contamination, raising grade above flood plains, and leveling uneven sites prior to building.
In response to the COVID crisis, New Jersey’s Governor issued Executive Order (EO) 122 early this month, which halted certain construction activities in New Jersey as ‘Non-Essential’. In response, on April 21, 2020, the NJDEP issued its written opinion (see below) that construction related to environmental remediation projects are deemed essential and allowed to continue under EO 122, conditional on implementing social distancing and other case-specific due care measures. Based on this determination, many New Jersey brownfield capping projects may remain open to service soil excavated on the Metro New York City and New Jersey markets.