A question recently arose regarding whether Licensed Site Remediation Professionals (“LSRPs”) and certified Subsurface Evaluators (“SSEs”) need to obtain an A-901 license to manage solid and hazardous waste in connection with their remediation projects. In response, the NJDEP issued a policy statement in March 2016 documenting its determination that LSRPs and certified SSEs, in providing overall management and oversight of a site remediation project, do not need an A-901 license in order to handle the management of solid or hazardous wastes. This determination was based on the fact that these professionals are highly educated in their respective fields of practice and are subject to strict codes of conduct and codified professional business practice obligations. Notably, however, while LSRPs and SSEs do not need an A-901 license to investigate, plan and arrange for the transportation or recycling of waste from their projects, they are still obligated to hire an A-901 licensed company to actually transport and dispose of these wastes.
Historically, corruption and criminal involvement plagued the waste management business in New Jersey. In an effort to clean up the industry, the State Legislature, starting in 1984, began requiring any company that collects, transports or disposes of solid or hazardous waste in New Jersey to obtain and maintain an A-901 license pursuant to N.J.S.A. 13:1E-126 to – 135, requiring disclosures by the company and key employees prior to licensing. The purpose of this requirement is to preclude from participation in the waste management any person with known criminal records or associations, as well as to ensure reliability, expertise and competence in the waste management industry.
In making its determination that LSRPs and SSEs do not need an A-901 license in order to oversee the management of wastes at a site for which they are responsible, the NJDEP considered a number of factors, including the education and experience of these licensed professionals, as well as the fact that they are subject to a professional code of conduct. In addition, the NJDEP acknowledged that oversight of waste management is merely incidental to other substantial, complex, technical and strategic consulting services performed by LSRPs and SSEs for responsible parties and, thus, requiring these professionals to hold an A-901 license would be burdensome and unnecessary.
Although LSRPs and SSEs are not required to have an A-901 license, these professionals (especially LSRPs), should take care to properly oversee the waste management, transportation and disposal activities at sites for which they are responsible. This includes making sure that wastes that are removed from a site are transported to a facility licensed to handle a particular type of waste. As a note of caution, LSRPs should be mindful that the Site Remediation Professionals Licensing Board can and will discipline LSRPs that do not appropriately oversee waste management activities on a site.