NJDEP No Further Action Letter or "NFA"
An NFA is a document, typically one page, that is issued by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s (NJDEP’s) Heating Oil Tank (HOTs) program to close out the contamination issue of a heating oil tank discharge.
Basically, the No Further Action Letter is an environmental release of “No Further Action” from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) and the culmination of a property's environmental remediation, which can include tank removal, remediation and testing.
Historically the NJDEP would issue NFA letters for both commercial and residential sites. This has changed with the enactment of the Site Remediation Reform Act, N.J.S.A. 58:10C-1 et seq on May 7, 2012. After this legislation only residential sites receive an NFA.
Can an NFA be rescinded?
Unfortunately, an NFA can be rescinded or withdrawn if it is found that the subject site that received the NFA has contamination that is above applicable NJDEP standards for either soil or groundwater. Rescinding an NFA is rare but does happened.
Will every residential oil tank receive an NFA letter?
To be applicable for an NFA letter you would need a site with a tank that leaks. You would then need to document that the leak as it occurred is to the extent (minimal) that petroleum levels are below NJDEP standards or remediation was performed that reduced petroleum levels to be within NJDEP acceptable standards. If your oil tank does not leak, you will not obtain an NFA.
How do you obtain an NJDEP NFA?
You must employ an NJDEP licensed firm and an individual for the work and submit documents in the from of a report with applicable NJDEP forms to NJDEP with a $400.00 review fee. The NJDEP will review these documents, typically within 30 days, and issue an NFA if applicable. If the NJDEP reviews submitted documents and finds site is not in compliance, the NJDEP will not issue an NFA and will list what is lacking and needs to be performed.
NJDEP Soil standards have changed including soil testing methods including TPHC, DRO and now EPH. Will the NJDEP issue an NFA for work that included older testing?
On a case by case basis NJDEP can review older reports that utilized the older testing methods and can issue an NFA if the data shows compliance with standards at the time the work was completed.
Can a site receive two NFA letters?
If the site has two leaking oil tanks (may properties had 2 oil tanks), then yes two NFA’s can be obtained.
Can a property be sold without an NFA letter?
There is no law that prevents the sale of a residential oil contaminated site.
How can I obtain a copy of an NFA for a site where an NFA was issued?
First if an NFA is issued, the property owner should hold a copy of the letter and the NFA should be issued to subsequent property owners during the sale of the property.
Pro Tip - during Covid-19 the NJDEP issued NFA's electronically, so involved parties would be expected to have a digital copy of the NFA letter.
An NFA is a matter of public record so a copy can be obtained via an OPRA. An NFA is issued to the responsible party (RP), typically the property owner, a copy to the local Board of Health and to the municipal clerk of the city, township or municipality where the property is located. The NJDEP also has a copy.