NJDEP Oil UST Fund Frequently Asked Questions
Effective May 2, 2011, changes occurred to the New Jersey Underground Storage Tank (UST) Fund. Below we have summarized the most frequently asked questions.
Q: Can I still submit an application to the UST Fund if I have not already done so?
A: Yes, the UST Fund is still accepting new applications for unregulated petroleum underground storage tanks, which includes home heating oil tanks; however, these applications will not be reviewed or processed at this time due to insufficient funds. They will be date stamped and held and reviewed in order of receipt. In the future if and when sufficient funds become available, these applications will be reviewed and processed. The NJDEP has provided a date of review sometime after July 2014 for new applications received after May 2, 2011.
Q: Can I still submit a non leaking tank removal grant?
A: The changes to the New Jersey non leaking oil tank grant effective May 2, 2011, effectively stopped accepting all new non leaking tank grants. So if you have not yet submitted your grant application, you must hold on to the application until the NJDEP starts accepting tank applications again.
Q: What if I submitted my UST Fund application on or before May 2, 2011?
A: UST Fund applications submitted and received on or before May 2, 2011, will be in one of two phases of the review process. It is either with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) for initial review, or it has been transmitted to the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA).
If you received a letter from NJDEP stating that it has been transmitted to NJEDA for final financial eligibility review, then the application is currently with NJEDA. NJEDA will continue to process these applications at this time. If NJEDA determines that your application is eligible for funding, our current projection is that these applications will be funded sometime after July 2011.
If your application has not yet been forwarded to NJEDA, then it is still with NJDEP. If you are in this category, your application may be reviewed, but will not be processed to NJEDA at this time due to insufficient funds. NJDEP’s projection for these applications is that they will not be funded before July of 2012 or 2013. This is based on the expectation that monies from New Jersey’s corporate business tax get applied to the UST Fund.
Q: What if my UST Fund application has already been approved?
A: If your UST Fund application has received full approval through both NJDEP and NJEDA, meaning that you have signed the Financial Assistance Agreement and closed on your grant or loan with NJEDA, then funds are reserved for your project and will be available to pay for costs incurred, as specified in your approval. Therefore, funds will be available to pay contractor invoices as the work is performed, with the understanding that such invoices still have to go through the normal review process to ensure that they represent work that was part of your original approval.
Q: What if supplemental (additional) funding above the originally approved amount is needed?
A: Whenever an applicant requires additional funding to complete their UST project, the applicant must submit what is referred to as a “Supplemental Funding Request”. These Supplemental Funding Requests will be prioritized so that projects already started can proceed through completion. Therefore, Supplemental Funding Requests will continue to be accepted, reviewed and processed provided sufficient funding is available.
Q: What is the future outlook for the UST Fund?
A: Currently, as per the State Constitution, the UST Fund is allotted a certain amount of funding each fiscal year (July of each year). These amounts fluctuate with certain tax revenues collected by the state. NJDEP and NJEDA are currently working on legislative initiatives to help more efficiently utilize the limited funds anticipated in the future, however, there is no guarantee that any such initiatives will allow applications to be funded any earlier than detailed above.
Q: What if I want to remove my oil tank now and do not want to wait for funding approval?
A: Oil tanks are an expendable item, much like a roof, and require replacement. As the saying goes, “rust never sleeps”. It’s always a good idea to remove or replace an oil tank if it is older than 20 years. Please be aware the majority of tanks do not leak, but any bare metal tank buried in the ground will eventually leak (maybe tomorrow, maybe in 50 years). So the basic idea behind removing an oil tank is a sound one regardless of the grant funding program. You should still remove the tank (i.e., hire an NJDEP certified company) and if and when monies become available, you can apply at that time. What people do not realize is that the grant program was originally meant to encourage tank owners to remove their tanks before problems happen since a leaking tank is significantly more expensive to address than a non leaking tank.
Q: What if I need to remediate a tank that leaked?
A: If your oil tank leaked, you must first determine to what extent by doing soil borings in and around where the tank was located so that the area (horizontal and vertical extent) of oil contaminated soil can be determined. Once you know how large, then a scope of work and costs can be developed to remediate the leak. These costs can then be prepared for grant funding submission.
Q: What if I can’t wait for funding to remediate my oil tank leak? i.e., I am selling my home with an oil tank leak?
A: We know that oil tank remediation is an unexpected and costly expense for homeowners. Since each situation is unique, Curren Environmental will sit down with you and review all options to address your tank cleanup project. We offer discounted and flexible options to address your situation. Curren has more than 20 years experience in tank removals and cleaning, soil and ground water testing and remediation activities.
If you have any additional specific questions regarding the UST Fund or oil tank remediation questions, please call (856) 858-9509.