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DEP Meets With Private Consultants Behind Closed Doors

DEP continues to keep statewide risks from vapor intrusion under the public and media radar screens

The DEP will hold a closed meeting with Licensed Site Professionals today to explain the new DEP “Vapor Intrusion Guidance” document at 9 am -12:30 pm  in the DEP public hearing room (early bird check in at 8:30 am).

The DEP has never made a public presentation or issued a Report or press release about the statewide vapor intrusion problem – yet they have spent thousands of staff hours behind closed doors with private consultants and lobbyists for polluters.

The meeting is closed to the public, local officials, and the press.

We imagine that DEP would not want to explain to the public why they are letting private consultants make life and death decisions, with no DEP oversight.

The meeting should be open to the public, especially because implementation of the new privatized “Licensed Site Professionals” program is just beginning. There is little transparency and virtually no public involvement in the new privatized toxic site cleanup program, an invitation for abuse and corruption.

The Legislature privatized the DEP toxic site cleanup program in 2009, and DEP has been meeting behind closed doors with industry consultants for almost 2 years writing the rules for the new program.

The fox is not only guarding the chicken coop, the fox designed and built the coop too!

We recently explained serious flaws in the new DEP Vapor Intrusion Guidance:

CHRISTIE GUTS VAPOR INTRUSION SAFEGUARDS – New Jersey Puts Private Consultants in Public Health Driver’s Seat

Trenton – Without public announcement late Friday afternoon, the Christie administration rolled back public health protections against seepage of deadly gases into homes, schools and businesses, according to Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). The new state Guidance repeals previous protections and instead defers all decisions to the “judgment” of private clean-up consultants.

In an email to industry “stakeholders” at 4 PM on Friday, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) unveiled its new Vapor Intrusion Guidance which extends the deregulatory policies of the Christie administration. The new Guidance repeals the prior 2005 Guidance which mandated abatement of vapor intrusion and instead

  • Creates loopholes and”exit ramps” to avoid remediation of vapor intrusion. A key loophole would allow a “phased approach” in which residents could be exposed to vapors for years;
  • Allows vapor intrusion risks to be concealed until future development actually occurs; and
  • Puts a private consultant, called Licensed Site Remediation Professionals, in charge of key remediation decisions, including when to sample, what chemicals to sample for, where to sample, how to interpret screening levels and when to warn people in impacted buildings.

Vapor Intrusion is a problem at thousands of homes, schools, and buildings nearby toxic waste sites, where chemicals from polluted soil and groundwater seep into buildings and poison the people inside.

DEP’s objective for today’s meeting is to “facilitate a working relationship”:

“In order to facilitate a working relationship between the Department and environmental professionals, these training sessions are open to both DEP staff and LSRPs.”

Instead of catering to consultants, DEP needs to build working relationships with the public and local officials in scores of communities across the state that are poisoned by chemical vapor intrusion.

It is outrageous that they continue to serve corporate private interests, instead of the public.

DEP continues to keep the statewide risks from vapor intrusion under the public and media radar screen.

However, vapor problems continue to crop up at scores of sites across the state. The poster child for vapor intrusion is the Dupont Pompton Lakes site, where over 450 nearby homes are poisoned.

The Legislature did not intend for the public to be completely shut out of the process.

Oversight hearings are in order.

Below is complete text of DEP email:

Subject: [SRRA] Technical Guidance Document Training Series * Vapor
Intrusion Technical Guidance
From: SRRA <SRRA@dep.state.nj.us>
Date: Wed, January 25, 2012 11:08 am
To: srra@listserv.state.nj.us

Training on this topic will be held as follows:

* Monday, February 13th from 9:00AM to 12:30 PM (check-in at 8:30 AM) in the DEP Public Hearing Room, 401 E. State Street, Trenton

Program Description of Vapor Intrusion Technical Guidance
The VIT Guidance is designed to help the investigator to comply with the requirements of the Department and properly assess the VI pathway. The technical guidance takes the investigator through the various stages of receptor evaluation, VI investigation, mitigation, monitoring and ultimately termination.

George Nicholas – Moderator
Brian Blum – Langan Consultants
John Boyer – NJDEP
Scott Drew – Geosyntec Consultants

In order to facilitate a working relationship between the Department and environmental professionals, these training sessions are open to both DEP staff and LSRPs. In person attendance is limited, so registration for all attendees will be on a first come first served basis.

In order for non-DEP staff to attend in person, please register on the LSRPA website at:

Register for Webinar
To register for the webinar please go to:

Presentation Materials
The slides and resulting audio will be posted on the DEP and the LSRPA web sites shortly after the presentation for future reference.

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  1. February 13th, 2012 at 13:07 | #1


    More and more reasons why Pompton Lakes MUST receive a Superfund designation and FINALLY be under full control of the EPA. This action by the NJDEP/State of NJ is not only unacceptable it is inappropriate for the tax-paying residents of NJ. We have a right to know what is going on and have input into matters that affect our lives! 8,960 signatures and counting – I hope people reading this will sign and share our petition in support of the designation of the Pompton Lakes DuPont Works site to the Superfund list. Stop DuPont Chemical from Poisoning New Jersey Families – http://www.change.org/petitions/stop-dupont-chemical-from-poisoning-new-jersey-families.

  2. February 13th, 2012 at 13:39 | #2

    @Lisa Riggiola

    Lisa – The Dupont Pompton lakes site was exempted from the DEP private LSP program because it is a federally regulated RCRA site.

    This DEP Vapor Intrusion Guidance does NOT apply to your case.

  3. February 13th, 2012 at 14:34 | #3

    @Bill – which it seems is good news for us but still not acceptable either way!

  1. June 28th, 2014 at 15:30 | #1
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