DEP Announces Tougher
Pollution Limits to Restore and Improve Water Quality in New Jersey
TRENTON (05/84)- Department of Environmental
Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell today announced
new, proposed pollution limits, targeting fecal coliform and phosphorus
that cause water quality impairments in more than 155 miles /550
acres of waterways across the state.
"This is one more tough action that continues New Jersey's commitment
to safeguard water resources for residents and future generations,"
said Acting Governor Richard J. Codey. "Identifying sources and
reducing pollutants is an important step in ensuring New Jersey
has safe and healthy water for drinking, and recreational activities."
Total Maximum Daily Loads, or TMDLs, are developed for those
waters of the state that do not currently meet water quality standards.
In developing a TMDL, DEP identifies the maximum amount of a pollutant
that a water body can contain and still meet New Jersey's water
quality standards. The TMDL then assesses the existing pollutant
load in the stream and identifies sources of that pollutant. The
TMDL goes on to establish the reduction in pollution load for
each source that is necessary to restore water quality to comply
with state standards. Lastly, DEP develops an implementation plan
to achieve those reductions.
New Jersey now proposes strengthened pollution limits through
additional 23 total maximum daily loads (TMDL) aimed at reducing
fecal coliform and phosphorus.
"Phosphorus and fecal coliform are pollutants that degrade our
water quality, and our ability to enjoy natural treasures like
Swartswood Lake," said Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell. "The
pollutant and its sources will be identified and eliminated to
restore New Jersey's impaired waterbodies to safe and healthy
waters that serve as sanctuaries for wildlife and offer swimming,
fishing and boating opportunities."
The 23 approved TMDLs that address more than 155 total miles
and 550-acres are located in five watershed regions including:
Atlantic Coastal, Lower Delaware, Northeast, Northwest and Raritan.
Water quality will be restored with strict requirements for fecal
coliform pollution reductions of 21 to 98 percent and phosphorus
reductions of 50 to 53 percent. The DEP will achieve the targeted
reductions by addressing the sources for fecal coliform and phosphorus
including failing septic systems.
The impairment for 20 of the TMDLs is fecal coliform. Fecal
coliform usually comes from human waste, animal waste, agricultural
fertilizers and wildlife. Sewage treatment facilities are potential
sources of fecal coliform because of equipment failure or operational
problems that can result in the discharge of untreated sewage.
To implement the TMDL plan the DEP will track the source of the
pollutant and implement tailored measures to control the source
and restore water quality.
The pollutant for three of the TMDLs is total phosphorus. Phosphorus
is an essential nutrient for plants and algae, but it is considered
a pollutant when it stimulates excessive growth causing algae
impairments to the lake in the form of algae blooms or excessive
growth of aquatic plants. The TMDL will focus on reducing and
eliminating phosphorus sources, to restore Swartswood Lake, a
Category One waterbody, to acceptable surface water quality standards.
The federal Clean Water Act (CWA) established section 303(d)
that requires states to prepare and submit a report that identifies
waters that do not meet water quality standards. This list is
known as the 303(d) list. The waterbodies on the 303(d) list have
impaired water quality and the state is required to develop a
TMDL for each pollutant in these waterbodies by priority. The
DEP updates its 303(d) list of impaired waters every two years
and submits the list to the EPA for approval. New Jersey then
targets these waterbodies to reduce and eliminate the source of
both point source pollution and nonpoint source (NPS) pollution
contributing to the degradation of water quality.
Point source pollution enters waterbodies from known outfall
locations including municipal and industrial wastewater treatment
plants and stormwater discharges (that require a permit under
the Clean Water Act). Nonpoint source (NPS) pollution refers to
pollution that runs into ground water sources, waterways, and
oceans from wet weather runoff carrying pollution from sources
including fertilizers, pet waste, motor oil and litter.
DEP published all 23 proposed TMDLs in the May 2005 New Jersey
Register (NJR). The DEP is currently soliciting public comment
for the 23 proposed TMDLs with the comment period closing at the
end of June.
DEP has adopted 230 TMDLs during the last two years. In 2004,
27 TMDLs were successfully completed including 3 for fecal coliform,
9 for phosphorus, 6 for arsenic, and 9 for temperature. In 2003,
203 TMDLs were completed statewide; 168 for fecal coliform in
streams and 35 for phosphorus in lakes. For more information about
New Jersey's watersheds visit http://www.nj.gov/dep/watershedmgt/