Hello, my name is Pauline Young, I am one of the partners here at the law firm of McLaughlin & Nardi and I am here today to discuss solid waste transportation also known as A-901 licensing.
Waste haulers are often surprised to learn of the extent of regulation in the industry in New Jersey. This is because in most states, waste transporters are not required to obtain a license in order to operate their business. New York City is one of the exceptions to that as well as New Jersey, but in most states, including Pennsylvania and Connecticut there is little to no licensing or registration requirements at all for solid waste haulers. However, because of New Jersey’s unfortunate history of illegal dumping and related criminal activity, the State has imposed a complex regulatory system to address these issues.
New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection, or also known as the “DEP”, specifically licenses, regulates, monitors and enforces a wide range of rules for waste haulers within the State. That begins with an initial licensing process which is both thorough and time consuming.
The initial paper application includes at least 2 components depending on your specific company: that generally includes (first) the Business Concern Disclosure Statement and (second) a Personal History Disclosure Statement.
For the Business Disclosure, the company first has to be set up and registered with the New Jersey Division of Revenue as a company authorized to do business in the State of New Jersey. Then the Disclosure itself basically seeks all information related to the company: the finances, the owners, primary employees, the locations, and so on. That disclosure alone is over 20 pages long.
Then a Personal History Disclosure has to be done separately for each and every owner and key employee of the company. Each of those disclosures are also over 20 pages each.
These disclosures seek significant information about the individual’s full employment history, their family relationships, their personal finances, and so on.
If the waste hauler itself is owned by or related to another company, in many instances those other companies also have to complete a separate Business Disclosure and then have personal history disclosures for each individuals involved in those other companies. So essentially, those levels of disclosures will continue on until all individuals with any discretionary authority over the waste hauling are identified and provide their own disclosures.
Once the initial paper application is submitted, it is sent over to the DEP and it is reviewed for full completion. One of the most common reasons for an immediate return of an application is putting it in “not applicable” or “NA” for any response. The DEP often will not accept that response at all.
Then, once the application is deemed complete, it gets sent on to state police to do full background checks. The individuals who completed personal history disclosures are required to get fingerprinted and then The State Police almost always question the individuals either in person, or, more commonly, over the phone.
Once the background check is completed, the application returns back to the DEP for further review of the content of the application. They can ask for clarification, or in some extreme circumstances, even require sworn testimony or deposition from the applicant.
The DEP then requires applicants to appear at a workshop in Trenton to review the legal requirements and the regulations for waste transporters.
In most cases (but not all cases) the DEP also requires waste transporters to go to an attorney such as those in my firm or another expert to receive further compliance training to ensure that the hauler really understands their ongoing obligations and license requirements. While we assist with any stage of this process that I have gone through, we also assist with just that compliance session as well if that is what is needed.
This A-901 licensing process can take 12 months or even more, but that time period tends to vary widely from company to company. The DEP is not required to approve anyone within any certain time frame. There is also a licensing fee that is based on the amount of disclosures that are required and that are submitted with the application.
Once an A-901 license is approved, the company still can’t start operating at that point. There is another next step in the process. The next step in the process is completing a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity also known as the “CPCN.”
That application provides additional information about the business including: insurance information, tax compliance, fees and rates expected to be charged, income expected to be generated in that upcoming year of operation. The company is charged a fee for that application as well which is based upon the company’s expected revenue. That application takes another month or so to be approved by the DEP.
At that point, the company still can’t start operating until the company applies for and receives decals for all of the vehicles and containers that are to be used in transporting waste. That takes another month or so to be received from the DEP. Once those decals are received and affixed to the equipment and vehicles, the company can finally begin operating the business.
However, its important to note that these compliance requirements never really expire or terminate because the companies are required to update both their A-901 and their CPCN. A-901’s are due to be updated by November 1 of each year and the CPCN by June of each year. A fee is associated with that update each year. The decals have to be updated every two years.
There is a significant number of other rules associated with the business operations of waste transporters, including billing practices, customer rights, waste flow, selling equipment, vehicles, or the company as a whole, and so on and so forth.
Therefore, its highly recommended that waste haulers seek legal advice in creating and operating their business.
Also, beyond the waste-specific industry requirements, our firm can also assist with normal business needs such as employee handbooks, contract drafting, and even litigation, unfortunately, if that becomes necessary.
So I hope that has been helpful in giving at small glimpse at the process for starting a waste transportation company in New Jersey, and certainly, please contact our firm if you need help with anything related to your waste transportation business.