LSRPs are gaining comfort in the process

Joshua Burd//November 3, 2014

LSRPs are gaining comfort in the process

Joshua Burd//November 3, 2014

Mark Pedersen has met plenty of licensed site remediation professionals — and he recalls some saying “they’re very nervous about the responsibilities that they have” under a 5-year-old state program aimed at giving them control of environmental cleanups.

As it turns out, he found that reassuring.

“That was very comforting to me, because they took very seriously the responsibilities that they have and the license that they have,” said Pedersen, the Department of Environmental Protection’s assistant commissioner for site remediation.

Not entirely surprising for a state that has turned over thousands of polluted sites to private-sector consultants, under what’s known as the Licensed Site Remediation Professional program.

Those experts are now managing cleanups across New Jersey, largely without requiring DEP approval to move through the process.

Pedersen said it’s only natural to tread lightly at first, given concerns over liability, but it’s only a matter of time before the so-called LSRPs are more at ease.

“One of the things I think that we’re going to notice over time is the more that we work with the LSRPs, they more comfortable they’re going to get in their decision-making and their application of their professional judgment,” he said.

That’s not to say there’s no DEP oversight. Pedersen said LSRPs still submit documents every step of the way, and the agency audits about 10 percent of the qualified professionals every year.

So far, the work of the consultants seems to speak for itself. Stephen Posten, the board president of the New Jersey Licensed Site Remediation Professionals Association, said LSRPs have issued about 4,700 documents signifying the end of remediation.

Only eight of those documents have been invalidated by the DEP, he said, and that’s because they were prepared by a temporary LSRP who never went on to seek a permanent license.

“It’s a pretty solid endorsement of the fact that people are on the same wavelength in terms of the documentation that needs to be submitted and the nature of the work that needs to be submitted to get to the finish line,” Posten said.