New Jersey Oil Tank Removal Grants
Changes to the NJDEP & EDA Oil Tank Grant Effective September 15, 2011
Grant applications that have already passed NJDEP review and have been submitted to the EDA are now being processed by the EDA with the monies added to the Grant Fund from the 2012 State appropriation. These applicants who had submitted their grants prior to the May 3, 2011 fund change will be receiving notification from the EDA over the next few weeks.
Applications that are in-house at the EDA but incomplete will be reviewed and processed in the order that they were received and held until sufficient funds become available.
There is a priority system that is in place pertaining to which applicants get funding first as per NJSA 58:10A-37.4, which is as follows:
1) Applications indicating a discharge posing a threat to drinking water, human health or sensitive ecological area;
2) Supplemental applications for remediation of discharge from regulated tanks;
3) Applications for remediation of discharge from regulated tanks;
4) Supplemental applications for remediation of discharge from unregulated tanks;
5) Applications for remediation of discharge from unregulated tanks;
6) Non-leaking tank applications
Within each of these categories, priority is based on the application filing date and processing dates that EDA staff adheres to when conducting its review.
NJDEP Tank Grant Change Posted May 3, 2011
The money supporting the New Jersey Tank Grant Program is being depleted faster than the NJDEP and EDA anticipated, this in conjunction with a lack of funding replenishment has caused the NJDEP to withhold processing new non leaking oil tank grants starting May 3, 2011. What this means to grant applicants and carriers:
- Any applicant that has received a funding approval agreement from the EDA can safely proceed with the remedial work as approved. Applicants with any cost overruns on the remedial work can still apply for supplemental funding. These supplemental fund requests will be reviewed but funding may not be approved based on available monies in the fund.
- Any grant application submitted after May 3, 2011, will be time stamped and reviewed when the NJDEP catches up to that part of the queue and based on availability of funds.
- The NJDEP has found that the grant program offerred to homeowners to remove underground oil tanks has driven a rise in tank removals and associated case numbers for leaking tanks. Without the financial incentive, the oil tank removal rate will attenuate to historic levels, with an increase during peak residential real estate sales periods.
- Grant applicants have been encouraged to perform testing and have been reimbursed for forensic investigations in order to date the range of when the tank leak occurred. This approach is to try to obtain partial insurance coverage from past policies. Most homeowners do not realize that insurance coverage may be available from the insurance policy for tank leaks.
- Insurance Carriers will have to perform tighter investigation to ensure that plume areas are well defined as homeowners will have to bear the burden of remedial costs without the benefit of financial grants from New Jersey.
- If additional funding is transferred to the grant fund, the NJDEP and EDA may take a stricter stance on the need based criteria for grant approval to help supply grants to the neediest of applicants. The NJDEP previously implemented this approach when regulated commercial underground storage tanks had access to this grant funding, on June 30, 2010, this funding was closed to new applicants.
When will monies be added to the fund so that new applications can be processed?
The fund was set up as an act of legislation or law that required funding to be added after the fund is depleted below the $20,000,000.00 level and to continue to do so until 2021. Monies were added for the 2011 and 2011 fiscal year for the EDA which begins in July of 2011. The amount of funding was approximately 16,000,000.00. The NJDEP is also looking at amending the application process criteria, i.e., who is eligible for the leaking and non leaking tank grant. These changes are not known at the present time, but it is possible that income levels and financial asset limits will be lowered to ensure that the neediest of applicants have access to the grant.
*The Following has been taken from the NJDEP web site.
*IMPORTANT NOTICE - NJDEP PETROLEUM UNDERGROUND STORAGE TANK REMEDIATION,UPGRADE & CLOSURE FUND (UST FUND)
PLEASE BE ADVISED THAT EFFECTIVE MAY 3, 2011, NEW UST FUND APPLICATIONS WILL NOT BE REVIEWED OR PROCESSED DUE TO INSUFFICIENT FUNDS. New UST Fund applications will be date stamped at the time of receipt and held until such time as sufficient funding becomes available. At that time applications will be reviewed and processed based on the order of receipt.
The Department of Environmental Protection is aware that contractors advertise that state funding is available and tank removal and remediation can be done at no cost to homeowners. Please be advised there has never been a guarantee of funding to any UST Fund applicant.
PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS DOES NOT AFFECT THE REVIEW OF SUPPLEMENTAL APPROVAL REQUESTS. If you have previously submitted an application that has been approved, any supplemental funding request for that application will be reviewed and processed until such time as available funding is exhausted.*
*Taken from the NJDEP web site.
The most popular question people ask is "Am I eligible for the grant"? Our most common answer is in our four years of dealing with the oil tank grant program, 90% of the people are eligible.
Our next most popular question is why is money available to remove an oil tank? The answer is that tanks are a replaceable item that often gets overlooked and when a tank leaks, it is expensive to repair. So New Jersey offers grants to encourage people to remove and if desired to replace their oil tanks. The oil tank grant program is meant to encourage homeowners to remove their oil tank before it is a problem.
Our third most popular question is what if the tank leaks? Our answer is, first you may have insurance coverage from your homeowner's policy for the tank leak.If you do not and you qualify for the oil tank removal grant, then you would be eligible for the Leaking Oil Tank Grant, which provides money to cleanup or as we say in the industry remediate the tank leak.
Curren has 18 years experience in the environmental field and we have been involved with the oil tank grant program since inception. We have included answers to common questions, but more often than not we find people like to talk one on one with us, as the program is a government program and it is not as easy for a first time user. We compare it to preparing a tax return, it can be done but professional help is always a safe bet. We offer a free consultation regarding the oil tank grant program and oil tanks in general. If your question is "why do we do this", because we are experts in this field with 18 years experience and out motto is "Experience You Can Trust".