Opening a Child Care Center in New Jersey: How Long Does Environmental Compliance Take?
To open a new child care center in New Jersey, the owner must perform some basic environmental tasks for compliance with regulations. Let’s talk about what that means.
Environmental compliance shows that a child care center is adhering to New Jersey’s laws in order to obtain a license to operate. In addition, compliance helps ensure that the child care center is safe and healthy for children and staff alike.
If a child care center fails to meet compliance standards, they may be subject to hefty fines and sometimes even forced to shut down operations.
So, how long does it take to achieve environmental compliance in New Jersey? This is a question we often hear, and there are a few factors that influence the answer.
The processing time of basic environmental compliance can vary considerably. The length depends on how quickly your environmental consulting firm works and whether or not any environmental issues are found.
Processing basic environmental compliance may also take longer when New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) requirements must be fulfilled since they require at least 30 days to review an application.
Let us walk you through some further details of environmental compliance for opening a local child care center. Here are some things you’ll need to consider.
Ballpark at Least a Month for Basic Environmental Compliance
For all new centers, and for new ownership of an existing center, you must obtain a Response Action Outcome (RAO) from a New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) Licensed Site Remediation Professional (LSRP).
An RAO is obtained once an LSRP conducts a Preliminary Assessment to ensure that there were no historic uses that may have caused contamination.
A Preliminary Assessment and RAO generally take 30 days to complete. However, it can take an extra two to three months if soil sampling or contaminant remediation is necessary. Therefore, you’ll need to budget your time accordingly.
If a building was constructed prior to 1979 or had a history of using chemicals, a Safe Building Interior Certificate (SBIC) is required to be issued by the NJDOH. This takes a minimum of 30 days after the RAO is issued.
If You’re Using Grant Money, It Could Take a While
All operators of a child care center are eligible for grant money to help offset the cost of a Preliminary Assessment through New Jersey’s Hazardous Discharge Site Remediation Fund (HDSRF).
The HDSRF offers this grant opportunity to child care operators of those that have paid for a Preliminary Assessment for licensing with the New Jersey Department of Children and Families (NJDCF). This fund offers grant reimbursements up to a maximum amount of $1,500 to eligible childcare centers.
If your child care center qualifies for grant money from the HDSRF, it can sometimes take a while to receive. This is because the state of New Jersey must process your grant application and approve it, which takes time. Therefore, you should expect to receive your grant money approximately 8 to 12 weeks from when your application is sent out.
The grant process may take longer if there are any issues found in your application. For instance, incomplete paperwork can result in a delay in receiving funds. .
If you don’t receive your grant money within twelve weeks, you may contact the NJDEP and let them know. They may be able to assist you to determine the status.
How to Speed Up the Process
The best way to ensure all environmental work and testing are conducted quickly is to work with a well-known environmental consulting company familiar with your area.
Look for an environmental consulting firm that works specifically with child care centers, schools, and other critical sites. This type of firm will have the experience needed to expedite the process.
A specialized environmental consulting firm will provide your child care facility with an LSRP and NJDOH Licensed Indoor Environmental Consultant (LIEC). Both the LSRP and LIEC will ensure that your facility meets New Jersey’s environmental laws and regulations for child care centers.
Once your LSRP completes your site assessments and testing, they will immediately provide you with the RAO. As mentioned earlier, the RAO is what proves that your child care center meets the NJDEP’s environmental compliance standards. Additionally, an SBIC is issued by the NJDOH for the applicable sites mentioned above..
A quick and thorough environmental compliance process will speed up the opening of your new child care center and help ensure child and staff safety.
We hope this post gave you a better understanding of how long environmental compliance will take before you can open your child care center. To speed up the process, you need to work with a reliable environmental consulting firm that values your time and money.
Do You Need a Childcare Site Assessment?
Paul Sakson Environmental has been one of New Jersey’s premier environmental consulting firms for the child care industry for nearly 25 years. We’ve helped thousands of child care center owners provide a safe and healthy environment for their children, and we can help with your new center, too.
If you have questions about opening a compliant child care center in New Jersey, contact our team online or call us at (732) 230-7510.