In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, a normal annual conference was impossible. So, the LSRPA brought more than 400 attendees together for its first virtual conference in February 2021.
The two-day conference allowed the LSRPs to take online courses, review new technologies, and even share a meal thanks to a meal delivery service. Of course, everyone attended from home.
“Despite the challenges, the LSRPA continues to be vital and growing,” said Scott Drew, the 2020 LSRPA president and a Senior Principal Environmental Scientist with Geosyntec Consultants. During 2020, LSRPA membership grew to 1,054 members, an all-time high, he said.
At the same time, LSRPA committed itself to diversity and stepping up outreach to communities, Drew said, including important outreach to environmental justice groups.
President for 2021, Mark Pietrucha, a Professional Engineer and LSRP with Woodard & Curran, said, “The LSRPA has to be prepared to be part of the processes that influence how remediation is conducted in New Jersey.” The coming year will be busy, he said, with changing NJDEP guidance documents and regulations. He encouraged all members to be prepared to join in, get involved, monitor changes, and participate in NJDEP stakeholder groups.
“These are all important actions that will shape the standard of care for our profession,” he said.
NJDEP Acting Commissioner Shawn LaTourette, the keynote speaker at the conference, called the LSRPs “the critical DEP partners whose mission is one with our own.”
In response to the delays caused by the pandemic, LaTourette said the NJDEP has extended the projects with a May 2021 remedial action deadline by one year to May 2022. Other NJDEP deadlines would be extended by 455 days, he said. Acknowledging that other extensions were possible, LaTourette said further timeframe extensions would likely be done on a site-by-site basis.
LaTourette praised LSRPs for helping complete clean ups at more than 16,000 projects. Of the remaining 13,000 remediation cases, LSRPs are active in more than three-quarters of them. The success of LSRPs with the NJDEP has spurred redevelopment and neighborhood rejuvenation, he said.
During the conference, the LSRPA membership selected six members for either renewed terms or new terms on its board. They are: Mark Pietrucha, Rebecca Hollender, Marlene Lindhardt, Ben Alter, Joseph Postorino, and Joseph Hochreiter.
LSRPs also were able to take online several continuing education courses, covering such topics as ethics, professional judgment, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), vapor intrusion, in-situ remediation, and ensuring regulatory compliance.
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