DEP Announces Environmental Health Partnership
With Mercer County
(04/114) Trenton -- Commissioner Bradley
M. Campbell today announced that the Department of Environmental
Protection (DEP) delegated Mercer County the authority to
establish environmental health programs under the County
Environmental Health Act (CEHA). Mercer County now becomes
the 21st county to participate in the CEHA program.
"For too long, Mercer County lacked a county health
agency to help to enforce New Jersey's environmental laws,"
said Commissioner Campbell. "I welcome Mercer County
to the CEHA program and applaud County Executive Brian Hughes
for strengthening public health protection in Mercer by
becoming a full CEHA partner."
As a CEHA partner, Mercer County will supplement the environmental
services provided by DEP in a variety of ways. DEP will
certify Mercer County's Office of Environmental Health to
enforce air pollution and solid waste regulations by inspecting
facilities and investigating complaints. Mercer County will
implement a countywide hazardous materials emergency response
program that will use existing teams in Trenton, Hamilton
and West Windsor. DEP will also delegate to Mercer County
its authority to undertake enforcement action to compel
violators to comply with state environmental and public
health laws. DEP provided $123,830 in CEHA grants to support
Mercer County's environmental health programs.
"This administration has made it a top priority to
work in partnership with the state and municipalities to
find the best solutions for protecting the health of our
citizens and our precious environment," said Mercer
County Executive Brian Hughes. "Adding this authority
will bring us in line with the rest of the state and advance
our ability to confront regional health issues effectively."
Governor Brendan Byrne enacted the County Environmental
Health Act in 1978. Under CEHA, DEP certifies county health
agencies to conduct environmental health programs that address
air pollution, hazardous materials emergency response, noise,
solid waste and water pollution. In cooperation with DEP,
county health agencies also routinely monitor coastal and
fresh water bathing beaches, investigate environmental concerns,
and use Geographic Information Systems and Global Positioning
System technologies for environmental planning and mapping.
In 2003, counties participating in CEHA conducted over
8500 routine inspections, investigated over 9200 complaints
and responded to 2,700 hazardous materials incidents.