Section: Violations; remedies; enforcement
a. (1) Whenever, on the basis of available information, the department determines that a person is in violation of a provision of P.L.1976, c.141 (C.58:10-23.11 et seq.), including any rule, regulation, plan, information request, access request, order or directive promulgated or issued pursuant thereto, or that a person knowingly has given false testimony, documents or information to the department, the department may:
(a) bring a civil action in accordance with subsection b. of this section;
(b) levy a civil administrative penalty in accordance with subsection c. of this section; or
(c) bring an action for a civil penalty in accordance with subsection d. of this section.
Use of any remedy specified in this section shall not preclude use of any other remedy. The department may simultaneously pursue administrative and judicial remedies provided in this section.
b. The department may commence a civil action in Superior Court for, singly or in combination:
(1) a temporary or permanent injunction;
(2) the costs of any investigation, cleanup or removal, and for the reasonable costs of preparing and successfully litigating an action under this subsection;
(3) the cost of restoring, repairing, or replacing real or personal property damaged or destroyed by a discharge, any income lost from the time the property is damaged to the time it is restored, repaired or replaced, and any reduction in value of the property caused by the discharge by comparison with its value prior thereto;
(4) the cost of restoration and replacement, where practicable, of any natural resource damaged or destroyed by a discharge; and
(5) any other costs incurred by the department pursuant to P.L.1976, c.141.
Compensatory damages for damages awarded to a person other than the State shall be paid to the person injured by the discharge.
c. (1) The department may assess a civil administrative penalty of not more than $50,000 for each violation, and each day of violation shall constitute an additional, separate and distinct violation. A civil administrative penalty shall not be levied until a violator has been notified by certified mail or personal service of:
(a) the statutory or regulatory basis of the violation;
(b) the specific citation of the act or omission constituting the violation;
(c) the amount of the civil administrative penalty to be imposed;
(d) the right of the violator to a hearing on any matter contained in the notice and the procedures for requesting a hearing.
(2) (a) A violator shall have 20 calendar days following receipt of notice within which to request a hearing on any matter contained in the notice, and shall comply with all procedures for requesting a hearing. Failure to submit a timely request or to comply with all departmental procedures shall constitute grounds for denial of a hearing request. After a hearing and upon a finding that a violation has occurred, the department shall issue a final order assessing the amount of the civil administrative penalty specified in the notice. If a violator does not request a hearing or fails to satisfy the statutory and administrative requirements for requesting a hearing, the notice of assessment of a civil administrative penalty shall become a final order on the 21st calendar day following receipt of the notice by the violator. If the department denies a hearing request, the notice of denial shall become a final order upon receipt of the notice by the violator.
(b) A civil administrative penalty may be settled by the department on such terms and conditions as the department may determine.
(c) Payment of a civil administrative penalty shall not be deemed to affect the availability of any other enforcement remedy in connection with the violation for which the penalty was levied.
(3) If a civil administrative penalty imposed pursuant to this section is not paid within 30 days of the date that the penalty is due and owing, and the penalty is not contested by the person against whom the penalty has been assessed, or the person fails to make a payment pursuant to a payment schedule entered into with the department, an interest charge shall accrue on the amount of the penalty from the 30th day that amount was due and owing. In the case of an appeal of a civil administrative penalty, if the amount of the penalty is upheld, in whole or in part, the rate of interest shall be calculated on that amount as of the 30th day from the date the amount was due and owing under the administrative order. The rate of interest shall be that established by the New Jersey Supreme Court for interest rates on judgments, as set forth in the Rules Governing the Courts of the State of New Jersey.
(4) The department may assess and recover, by civil administrative order, the costs of any investigation, cleanup or removal, and the reasonable costs of preparing and successfully enforcing a civil administrative penalty pursuant to this subsection. The assessment may be recovered at the same time as a civil administrative penalty, and shall be in addition to the penalty assessment.
d. Any person who violates a provision of P.L.1976, c.141 (C.58:10-23.11 et seq.), or a court order issued pursuant thereto, or who fails to pay a civil administrative penalty in full or to agree to a schedule of payments therefor, shall be subject to a civil penalty not to exceed $50,000.00 per day for each violation, and each day's continuance of the violation shall constitute a separate violation. Any penalty incurred under this subsection may be recovered with costs in a summary proceeding pursuant to "the penalty enforcement law" (N.J.S.2A:58-1 et seq.) in the Superior Court or a municipal court.
e. All conveyances used or intended for use in the willful discharge of any hazardous substance are subject to forfeiture to the State pursuant to the provisions of P.L.1981, c.387 (C.13:1K-1 et seq.).
L.1976,c.141,s.22; amended 1979,c.346,s.7; 1984,c.240,s.2; 1986,c.170,s.2; 1990,c.75,s.1.
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