NJDEP Preliminary Assessment (PA) for Site Investigation



NJDEP Preliminary Assessment (PA) for Site Investigation

The purpose of a Preliminary Assessment is to identify any potentially contaminated areas of concern a property. In New Jersey Preliminary Assessments are performed as part of an ISRA or for certain LSRP contaminated sites and will follow the Technical Requirements for Site Remediation N.J.A.C. 7:26E.  The preliminary assessment will be performed on the subject property to locate, evaluate and assess the potential environmental risk associated with past and current uses of the property. The assessment will summarize any areas of concerns.   The scope of work will consist of the following:

A history of ownership and operations at the industrial establishment, in tabular form, from the time the site was naturally vegetated or utilized as farmland in accordance with N.J.A.C. 7:26E-3.1(c)1.I will be created.

In accordance with N.J.A.C. 7:26E-3.1(c)1.ii, a clear and concise description of the past industrial/commercial operation(s) conducted on the site by each owner and operator.  To the extent available the site history shall include an evaluation of the following sources of information:

 (1) Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps;                  

(2) federal, state, county and local government files;            

(3) Title and Deed;

(4) Site plans and facility as-built drawings; .

(5) and any additional sources which may be available for a specific site.

The and PA requires that a diligent inquiry be made, researching the site history back to January 1, 1932. The following are ways of obtaining information regarding site history: title searches; contacting the local and county health officials and municipal agencies (for example, local fire and police departments, and local planning, zoning, adjustment boards) requesting any information these public agencies may have on the specific location; and, interviewing long time neighbors of the industrial establishment.  Curren will document any attempts to locate this information to support a claim that a diligent inquiry has been conducted.  If the prior site history demonstrates that the current building was built on vacant unimproved property, it will be reported as such.  If the site has been, or is now the subject of a site remediation, any prior cases will be referenced.

A comprehensive listing of resources utilized to compile the site history and as appropriate copies of any maps or information, which will assist the Department in evaluating the report.

Conclusions will be included with the report.   A detailed description of the most recent operations subject to this preliminary assessment.


Preliminary Assessment (PA)

A hazardous substance/waste inventory as per: N.J.A.C. 7;26E-3.1(c)1.iii will be developed.  Listings of all raw materials finished- products, formulations and hazardous substances, hazardous wastes, hazardous constituents and pollutants, including intermediates and by-products that are or were historically present on the site.  Note: If past usage included farming, pesticides may be a concern and should be included in this list.  

In accordance with N.J.A.C. 7:26E-3.1(c)1iv a summary of all current and historic wastewater discharges of Sanitary and/or Industrial Waste and/or sanitary sludges will be provided.  Past production processes, including dates, and their respective water use shall be identified and evaluated, including ultimate and potential discharge and disposal points and how and where materials are or were received on-site.  Information required under this item is intended to identify potential discharges to any on-site disposal system, such as a septic system or lagoon or drywell.

A narrative of disposal processes for all historic and current process waste streams and disposal points will be developed.                                                                 

A diligent search of all documents which are reasonably likely to contain information related to the object of the inquiry, which documents are in such person's possession, custody or control, or in the possession, custody or control of any other person from whom the person conducting the search has a legal right to obtain such documents.

Make reasonable inquiries of current and former employees and agents whose duties include or included any responsibility for hazardous substances, hazardous wastes, hazardous constituents, or pollutants, and any other current and former employees or agents who may have knowledge or documents relevant to the inquiry.

In accordance with N.J.A.C. 7:26E3.1(c)1.v., a narrative shall be provided for each area of environmental concern describing the (A) Type; (B) Age; © Dimensions of each container/area; (D) Chemical Content; (E) Volume; (F) Construction materials; (G) Location; (H) Integrity (i.e., tank test reports, description of drum storage pad); and (I) Inventory control records, unless a NJDEP-approved leak detection system, pursuant to N.J.A.C. 7:1E or 7:14B, has always been in place and there is no discharge history. 

If the site area exceeds two acres, an interpretation of the aerial photographic history of the site shall be submitted in accordance with N.J.A.C. 7:26E-3.1(c)1.vi.  The interpretation shall be based on available current and historical color, black and white and infrared aerial photographs (scale 1:18,000 or less) of the site and surrounding area at a frequency that provides the evaluator with a historical perspective of site activities.  The photographic history shall date back to 1932 or the earliest photograph available.

In accordance with N.J.S.A 7:26E-3.1.vii, a description of any remedial activities previously conducted or currently underway at the site, including dates of discharges, remedial actions taken, and all existing sample results concerning contaminants which remain at the site.  Copies of Department or other governmental agency no further action approvals should also be provided with a description of the areas to which the no further action approvals apply.

In accordance with N.J.S.A 58:10B-13(e) the following evaluation of the protectiveness of past remedies shall be completed for all areas of concern for which no further action was previously approved by the Department or other equivalent government agency and for which no additional remediation is proposed.  All final sampling results shall be evaluated to determine if contaminant levels remaining on the site are in compliance with current remediation criteria.

In accordance with N.J.A.C. 7:26E-3.1© xii, a listing all other federal, state, local government environmental permits for all previous and current owners or operators applied for and/or received for the site.

In accordance with N.J.A.C. 7:26E-3.1(c)xiii, a summary of enforcement actions (including but not limited to, Notice of Violations, Court Orders, official notices or directives) for violations of environmental laws or regulations.

In accordance with N.J.A.C. 7:26E-3.1© xiv, a narrative description of all areas where non-indigenous fill materials were used to replace soil or raise the topographic elevation of the site, including the dates of emplacement. 

Scaled historical site maps and facility as built drawings (if available).


A copy of the United States Geologic Survey (USGS) 7.5 minute topographical quadrangle that includes the site and an area of at least one mile radius around the site.  The facility location shall be clearly noted.  If a portion of the USGS quadrangle is used, the scale, north arrow, contour interval, longitude and latitude with the name and date of the USGS quadrangle shall be noted on the map.

Preliminary Assessment



How do you perform  Preliminary Assessment?

a Preliminary Assessment performed in New Jersey must be done in accordance with the Technical Requirements for Site Remediation (TRSR), N.J.A.C. 7:26E-3 as well as the NJDEP’s August 2018 Preliminary Assessment Technical Guidance document and shall identify all areas of concern at a property.  Pursuant to the TRSR, an area of concern is defined as any location where any hazardous substance, hazardous waste, or pollutant is known or suspected to have been discharged, generated, manufactured, refined, transported, stored, handled, treated, or disposed, or where any hazardous substance, hazardous waste, or pollutant has or may have migrated.

After the Preliminary Assessment has been performed, a Preliminary Assessment Report is prepared in accordance with the TRSR.

Curren will perform an ecological assessment in accordance with the requirements of N.J.A.C. 7:26E - 3.11. Curren will identify environmentally sensitive natural resources within the site boundaries and on properties immediately adjacent to the site. The site visit will be conducted by an environmental scientist other regulatory agency. Curren will determine if potential contaminant migration pathways exist to environmentally sensitive natural resources.

If any contamination is discovered during the implementation of the PA, the client may be required to conduct a Remedial Investigation (RI) to determine the nature and extent of contamination.  If no remedial measures appear necessary, a Remedial Action Outcome (RAO) certification will be formulated to document that there have been no discharges of hazardous substances or wastes on the property and submitted with the PA to the NJDEP. 

Do I need an LSRP to perform a Preliminary Assessment?


Short answer no, you do nt need an LSRP.  The NJDEP Administrative Requirements for the Remediation of Contaminated Sites (ARRCS), N.J.A.C. 7:26C establish the administrative procedures and requirements for the remediation of contamination sites.  Pursuant to the ARRCS rules, any person who initiates a remediation after November 4, 2009 must hire a Licensed Site Remediation Professional.  However, pursuant to N.J.A.C 7:26C-1.4 (Exemptions), the ARRCS rules do not apply to any person who is conducting due diligence; therefore, you do not need to hire an LSRP to perform the Preliminary Assessment or the initial soil sampling.

However, if initial sampling results indicate the presence of contamination above the NJDEP’s Soil Remediation Standards, the case then enters the Remedial Investigation (RI) phase and an LSRP would then be required for all subsequent phases of investigation and remediation.

Remedial Action Outcome (RAO)

When a property has achieved compliance with applicable NJDEP soil and groundwater standards for a given Area of Concern (AOC) a No Further Action (NFA) declaration is provided.  Under the new NJDEP Site Remediation Reform Act, N.J.S.A. 58:10C-1 et seq. the NJDEP has switched the NFO to the issuance of a Remedial Action Outcome (RAO) declaration.   RAO replace the NFA for all non-regulated heating oil tank (UHOT) sites.  An RAO can be issued for an entire site or for specific Areas of Concern detailed in a Preliminary Assessment.



Preliminary Assessment Questions?


Call the Experts 888-301-1050


Preliminary Assessment Questions


Click me