New Jersey Environmental Risk Management Fund

Hurricane Sandy

The Hurricane turned “Superstorm,” known as Sandy, left behind massive quantities of downed trees, upturned sidewalks and an abundance of damaged municipal and utility infrastructure that will take months or even years to clean and repair. In addition, millions of residents especially those living in coastal areas are returning to their homes to be greeted with damaged property which will very quickly and inefficiently make its way to the nearest dumpster, parking lot or sidewalk.


In light of the massive cleanup ahead, NJDEP Commissioner Bob Martin issued Administrative Order (AO) #AO2012-11 (October 27, 2012) temporarily revising certain solid waste regulations, under the following authorizations: Governor Christie’s Executive Order #104 (October 27, 2012), the Solid Waste Management Act (N.J.S.A. 13:1E-1 et seq.) and the Solid Waste Utility Control Act (N.J.S.A. 48:13A-1 et seq.).


Partial Suspension of Solid Waste Regulations


Temporary Debris Management Areas

Emergency temporary staging of non-putrescible solid waste and separated household hazardous waste will be allowed in non-environmentally sensitive areas when necessary to maintain public health or safety. Notification to the NJDEP is required to avoid enforcement.  Exemptions to the 90-day storage of hazardous waste are available from regional compliance & enforcement offices. Sites must be approved by NJDEP before they become operational; however, NJDEP is still accepting applications for all non-registered before enforcement is implemented. In addition, all solid waste staging areas must be permitted/approved by NJDEP in order to be eligible for FEMA reimbursement. Please note that FEMA and OSHA have already begun investigating the status of staging areas. A copy of the TDMA application is available at tinyurl.com/EJIF-DebrisStaging.


Waste Flow Suspension

On November 4, 2012, the State of New Jersey issued a waste flow suspension notice for Hudson, Union, Essex and Monmouth Counties. This suspends the mandate that any solid (non-hazardous) waste generated in each of the counties be sent to their designated disposal facility due ongoing power outages resulting from the Superstorm. Waste flow is now reinstated for all Counties with the exception of Monmouth, which is anticipated to be suspended until December 3, 2012. Please see this web page for updates: www.nj.gov/dep/special/hurricane-sandy/docs/waste-flow-suspension-union-essex-hud-mon-11-4-12.pdf

Transporter Requirements

From now until close of business November 29, 2012 or the state of emergency is concluded, or the AO is rescinded (whichever occurs first), any clearly marked government vehicle (State, county, municipal, or National Guard) and certain institutional vehicles (e.g. hospitals, nursing homes, health care faculties) can temporarily haul solid waste, regardless of current or prior registration. Temporary registration forms are available for privately-owned, leased and unmarked vehicles at: tinyurl.com/EJIF-TempTranspReg.


Source Separation Still Mandatory

Solid waste facilities, including recycling facilities, are not authorized to accept materials that are not included in their permits. Therefore, facilities permitted to accept Type 10 (municipal solid waste) cannot accept Type 13 (bulky waste) and vice versa. For example, mattresses, sheet rock, furniture, rugs and cabinets are considered Type 13 wastes and cannot be taken to facilities permitted for Type 10. Municipalities and contractors should make efforts to inspect dumpsters and source separate these wastes or risk being refused at their destinations and fined by NJDEP. In addition, the NJDEP has not relaxed the prohibition of disposing of household hazardous wastes as municipal solid waste. Oil and gasoline should be taken to an acceptable drop-off site for recycling. Materials such as rechargeable batteries, pesticides, waste lamps (fluorescent bulbs), mercury containing devices, oil-based paints and finishes, and consumer electronics (televisions, computers, monitors) are classified as universal wastes by NJDEP and must be managed properly until they can be collected for recycling or processing. Likewise, refrigerants must be properly evacuated from damaged refrigerators, air conditioners and dehumidifiers, before they can be considered solid waste.

In order for a solid waste or recycling facility to increase capacity or accept additional waste types, a request for emergency waiver must be requested from NJDEP. Guidance on this process is available at: www.nj.gov/dep/special/hurricane-sandy/docs/waste-guidance20121029.pdf.

Please note that above exceptions to the Solid Waste and Recycling rules have been summarized and do not address all situations and do not authorize prohibited operations that are not explicitly allowed.  Please review official documents for additional details.

Additional Resources

  • NJDEP - Environmental Hotline: 1-877-WARNDEP


For additional information, a list of NJDEP and Regional Contacts, a document of the ongoing status of collection and disposal facilities, and a flood and garbage debris fact sheet to distribute to residents, visit www.nj.gov/dep/special/hurricane-sandy