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New Jersey Proposes Sweeping DPCC Updates within the Hazardous Substance Discharge Prevention Rules

DPCC Regulated Storage Tanks

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) has unveiled a comprehensive proposal to modernize its Discharges of Petroleum and Other Hazardous Substances (DPHS) rules, which have not undergone significant revision in decades.

The NJDEP is providing a 60-day window for stakeholders to weigh in on the proposed changes. Facilities handling hazardous substances in New Jersey should use this opportunity to evaluate how the amendments would impact their operations and compliance strategies. A public hearing concerning the proposal will be conducted on June 11, 2024, at 9:00 A.M.

This proposal reflects major changes to enhance and maintain a robust discharge prevention program. The amendments align the state's hazardous substance list with current federal EPA lists, ensuring contaminants of concern like per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are captured. At the same time, the rules introduce a new process for demonstrating that mixtures containing de minimis levels of hazardous substances may qualify for streamlined requirements.

In a major new development, the NJDEP is proposing to require Climate Resiliency planning. Requirements include assessing discharge vulnerabilities and evaluating potential mitigation measures resulting from frequent and intense precipitation events and other climate change impacts.

Other changes include enhanced financial responsibility requirements to ensure adequate resources are available for discharge cleanups, calibrated to the scale of a facility's storage capacity. The amendments also propose to extend the timeline for renewal of Discharge Prevention, Containment and Countermeasure (DPCC) and Discharge Cleanup and Removal (DCR) plans from 3 to 5 years. Counterbalancing this, the two additional years between renewals will afford the DPHS program time to perform more frequent compliance inspections. In addition, the proposal lowers the reporting threshold to cover almost all discharges and substantially raises penalties for noncompliance.

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