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Division of Land Use Regulation
State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection

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NOTE: All webpages and forms listed on this website are being amended in accordance with the December 18, 2017 rule changes. We will be updating these pages as soon as possible. While these updates are in progress, our web pages may contain inaccuracies. Please refer to the appropriate rule for the most accurate and updated regulations for your activity of concern.

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PermittingCommon Project TypesFreshwater WetlandsStreams & Rivers (FHA)Coastal AreasTidelandsHighlandsMitigationPermit Extension ActElectronic (E) ServicesApplication Status

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Remediation of Contaminated Sites and Landfills

  • Overview
  • Freshwater Wetlands
  • Flood Hazard
  • Coastal
  • Tidelands

Hazardous waste from landfills and industrial sites may persist in the environment and warrant investigation, remediation, and mitigation. These activities may impact “special areas”, wetlands, transition areas, and State open waters and as a result may require multiple authorizations and/or oversight from the Department's Division of Solid and Hazardous Waste, Site Remediation Program, and/or the Division of Land Use Regulation.

It is important to closely examine a proposed project relative to the special areas on site.  Special areas can be rudimentarily determined using the Department’s online mapping service, NJ-GeoWeb

The above tabs provide additional information on permit requirements relating to site remediation.  For impacts to streams, rivers, lakes, ponds, flood plains, flood ways, riparian zones, please see the "Flood Hazard" tab. For impacts to special coastal areas, please see the "Coastal" tab. For impacts to Freshwater Wetlands, see the "Freshwater Wetlands" tab.  Information on Tidelands can be found by selecting the "Tidelands" tab.

The investigation and clean up of hazardous waste within freshwater wetlands, transition areas, and/or State open waters requires a Freshwater Wetlands (FWW) permit. Two FWW General Permit (GP) are available for this type of activity, they are a GP4 and GP5.

GP4-Hazardous site investigation and clean up - May be obtained for disturbances to freshwater wetlands, transition areas, and State open waters, which are undertaken by the Department or expressly approved in writing by the Department's Division of Remediation Managment and Response, for the investigation, clean up, and removal of hazardous substances and pollutants.

GP5-Landfill closures - May be obtained for disturbances to freshwater wetlands, transition areas, and State open waters, which are undertaken by the Department's Division of Solid and Hazardous Waste, or authorized through a solid waste facility closure and post-closure plan or disruption approval issued by the Departement to adequately or properly close the solid waste facility and to propoerly maintain and monitor it after closure.

There are several permitting options for remediating hazardous waste within a regulated area under the Flood Hazard Area Control Act Rules (N.J.A.C. 7:13). 

Two permits-by-rule may apply for different remediation activities. Permit-by-rule 45 authorizes geotechnical investigations in areas regulated under the Flood Hazard Area Control Act Rules. These activities cannot occur within 25 feet of any top of bank of a regulated water, cannot result in changes in topography in a flood hazard area, and cannot involve the clearing, cutting, or removal of trees, except for cutting branches or clearing damaged, dying, or dead trees to provide access to the activity.

Permit-by-rule 46 authorizes the installation of one or more monitoring wells. These activities cannot result in changes in topography in a flood hazard area. Riparian zone vegetation cannot be disturbed, except for within five feet of the well, where necessary to facilitate its installation. Tress cannot be cleared, cut, or removed in a riparian zone, except for cutting branches or clearing damaged, dying, or dead trees to provide access.

General permit-by-certification 12 authorizes surveying and geotechnical and archeological investigations, which may include activities to determine the presence or extent of contamination in soils or groundwater. This is similar to permit-by-rule 45, but offers more flexibility for the size and location of activities.

General permit-by-certification 14 authorizes the placement of water monitoring devices, including water monitoring and testing devices. An engineering certification is required to confirm that the placement of the device(s) will not increase erosion or flooding. Several other requirements apply to minimize riparian zone disturbance and protect aquatic life.

There are no flood hazard area general permits available for site remediation.

All other projects will require a verification and an individual permit. The standards for verifications are located at N.J.A.C. 7:13-5 and the standards for individual permits are located at N.J.A.C. 7:13-10, 11, and 12.  The specific  riparian zone standards for site remediation activities are set forth at N.J.A.C. 7:13-11.2(r). (

If the proposed project is regulated pursuant to the Coastal Zone Management Rules at N.J.A.C. 7:7, then no separate flood hazard approval is required.  In these instances, the applicant need only submit a report and plans demonstrating compliance with the Flood Hazard Area Control Act Rules as part of the coastal permit application.

The investigation, remediation, and/or mitigation of contaminated sites and/or landfills within coastal areas generally requires a permit.  There are no coastal exemptions for site remediation activities.  However, the project may qualify for the below described Permit-by-rule or General Permits.  If the project does not meet the requirements of the aforementioned authorizations, a CAFRA, Coastal Wetlands, and/or Waterfront Development Individual Permit may be required.
The “Jurisdiction” tab of the "Coastal Areas" webpage can help you determine which areas of your site may be regulated.  The availability of certain permits depends on the project’s location.

Potentially applicable Permit-by-Rule (PBR):

PBR 20 - authorizes implementation of a sediment sampling plan for sampling in a water area as part of a dredging or dredged material management activity or as part of a remedial investigation of a contaminated site, provided the sampling:

  • Is part of a dredging or dredged material management activity, the sediment sampling plan shall be prepared in accordance with chapter Appendix G, incorporated herein by reference, and approved in writing by the Department’s Office of Dredging and Sediment Technology; or
  • Is part of a remedial investigation of a contaminated site, the sediment sampling plan shall be prepared in accordance with the Technical Requirements for Site Remediation, N.J.A.C 7:26E, and approved by the Department or certified by a Licensed Site Remediation Professional in accordance with the Administrative Requirements for the Remediation of Contaminated Sites (ARRCS), N.J.A.C. 7:26C.

Please be advised, activities that qualify for this PBR also qualify for a water quality certificate pursuant to Section 401 of the Federal Clean Water Act, 33 §§ 1251 et seq.  Please see N.J.A.C. 7:7-4.20 for complete rule requirements.

Potentially applicable General Permits (GPs):

GP 11 - authorizes investigation, cleanup, removal or remediation of hazardous substances

GP 23 - authorizes geotechnical survey borings

Tidelands, also known as riparian lands, are all those lands now or formerly flowed by the mean high tide of a natural waterway; that is to say any land that is currently or was previously covered by tidal waters.  The State of New Jersey, and therefore the people of New Jersey, owns all Tidelands except for those to which it has already sold its interest in the form of a riparian grant.  It is important to note that the State generally does not own artificial waterways such as lagoons however, the State does claim those lands within a lagoon that were flowed by the mean high tide of a natural waterway which existed prior to the creation of the lagoon.

Hazardous waste clean-up activities that are proposed in a tidelands area may require a tidelands license if the activities are taking place at or below the mean high water line of a tidal waterway or a tidelands grant if the activities are taking place in an area that is currently landward of the mean high water line but was, at some point, flowed by the tide.

A tidelands license is a short term revocable rental document to use tidelands generally for structures such as docks, bulkhead extensions, mooring piles, and other temporary structures as well as for dredging projects. Licenses are project specific and expire after a finite term ranging from one to ten years. Most licenses may be renewed.

A riparian grant, or tidelands grant, is a deed from the State of New Jersey selling its tidelands. Tidelands grants are generally only issued for lands that have already been filled in and are no longer flowed by the tide.

For more information on tidelands instruments, please see the tidelands section of this website.

For information and instruction on how to determine whether you are in an area that may require either a license or a grant, or for information how to apply for Tideland instruments please see the "Before you Build, Before you Buy" webpage.

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