While we are all dealing with the challenges presented by coronavirus, it is important that environmental compliance not be forgotten. Both the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) have issued guidance.
NJDEP has issued guidance for owners/operators of wastewater treatment or pretreatment systems advising that contingency plans be updated and reminding regulated entities that reporting and compliance obligations remain in effect.
At this time, regulatory deadlines have not been extended and obligations remain in effect. If for any reason, the COVID-19 issues create an environmental compliance concern, it is important that the regulated entity communicate promptly with the agencies. For any potential significant non-compliance, the NJDEP hotline should be called 1-877-WARN DEP. In other circumstances NJDEP, or as applicable USEPA or local agencies, should be contacted. Failure to contact the agencies may vitiate the ability to assert affirmative defenses to non-compliance under environmental laws or the ability to obtain extensions of applicable deadlines.
For additional information pertaining to the coronavirus outbreak, please visit CSG’s COVID-19 Resource Center.