Frequently Asked Questions
Why do we need to regulate stormwater?
The underlying answer is water quality. Everyone relies on clean water for life's needs. Many industrial sites have materials that, when exposed to stormwater, have the potential to pollute our water resources. Pollution from any source harms our water supply. Pollution can include various different substances such as: toxic chemicals, oil and grease, plastics, sediment, and many other substances. While your industry may only contribute small amounts of pollution, the cumulative impact of thousands of industries, as well as the impact from everyone else, accounts for over 60% of the water quality problems in our State's waterways.
Who created this program?
The Stormwater Permitting Program was mandated by Congress in the 1987 amendments to the Clean Water Act. Therefore, this is a nationwide program, with facilities receiving stormwater permits all over the country. In New Jersey, as in numerous other states, the program has been handed over to the Department of Environmental Protection (Department) by the US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) along with federal rules for implementing the program. It is one of the most ambitious programs undertaken by the Department. Because of its size (affecting up to 20,000 facilities in New Jersey alone), innovative ways of permitting are being utilized that streamline the process and lower the usual economic costs of environmental regulation. The Department is working with many trade organizations to insure that the stormwater permitting process is fair, reasonable, and effective. Our staff is frequently out in the field visiting industrial sites and meeting with industry representatives to gain an understanding of their businesses. We also have an Stormwater Permitting Advisory Group which closely assists us in developing policies.
What are individual stormwater permits?
Individual stormwater permits are issued to facilities that cannot eliminate exposure of pollutants to stormwater. These facilities have to develop and implement Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plans to gain drainage control, and to minimize contact between pollutants and stormwater. Other permit conditions may require monitoring stormwater discharges for pollutants. Effluent limitations may be imposed in some cases.