N.J. Legislature, District 12

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Dancer bill relaxing regulations for using steel byproduct in construction fill now law

June 24, 2022

Ron Dancer

TRENTON, N.J. – New Jersey will now allow steel slag, a byproduct of the steel and iron recycling process, to be used in construction fill for certain industrial and commercial developments and remediation projects without the need for additional Department of Environmental Protection approval.

In May, the Assembly concurred with the governor’s recommendations to align the uses for steel slag in the bill (A642) with those that that the DEP had previously identified as qualifying for an exclusion from solid waste regulations. The governor signed the bill into law on Friday.

“Not only does steel slag help to reduce construction costs, but since it is produced through recycling, it is also a sustainable alternative to other aggregate materials,” said Assemblyman Ron Dancer (R-Ocean), a prime sponsor of the measure. “This law lessens our reliance on natural resources like sand and gravel, while offering an environmentally sound and economical fill option for developers in New Jersey.”

Under the new law, the use of steel slag cannot cause a violation of drinking and groundwater quality standards, and steel slag remains subject to DEP oversight when it is used in ways not covered by the law.

The Federal Highway Administration estimates that between 7.7 and 8.3 million tons of steel slag is used each year in the United States. The primary applications are its use as a granular base or as an aggregate material used in asphalt or concrete. It can be used as clean fill in remediation projects where contaminated soil has been removed.