On his last day in office, Governor Christie last week expanded the existing Hazardous Discharge Site Remediation Fund grant program by allocating funds to a much wider array of contaminated sites in  municipalities throughout the state.  The funds can now be used to identify, characterize and remediate blighted or underutilized properties, and developers can now consider those sites for ultimate redevelopment.

The Hazardous Discharge Site Remediation Fund was created in 1993 as part of NJ’s Brownfield and Contaminated Site Remediation Act and is administered by the NJ Department of Environmental Protection and the NJ Economic Development Authority.  Among other purposes, the fund provides grants to municipalities to investigate and clean up contaminated properties.  Funds are derived from a percentage of NJ’s Corporate Business Tax.

Funds had been depleted and the state was considering prioritizing funding only for so-called Brownfield Development Areas, which requires, among other things, a formal designation and an assemblage of lots.

With the enactment of this new law, there are now ample funds applicable to a much broader spectrum of contaminated sites for the foreseeable future.  Municipalities and private developers can now work together to identify sites – whether single sites or larger assemblages — that need environmental characterization and/or cleanup.  Municipalities can access funds for the work and make them marketable to brownfield redevelopers who can return to active use.

Grants can cover 100% of costs to perform preliminary assessments and investigations of contamination and 75%  of the cost to perform the cleanup.