DEP DELIVERS ON COMMITMENT TO PROTECT NEW JERSEY'S
(07/23) TRENTON - Department of Environmental Protection
Commissioner Lisa P. Jackson today announced more than 900 miles
of waterways and 1,300 acres of reservoirs that supply drinking
water to millions of New Jerseyans deserve special protection from
the dangers of development - one of two unprecedented water-quality
initiatives unveiled by Governor Jon S. Corzine's Administration
to mark the 37th anniversary of Earth Day.
Along with recommending Category One protection for high-quality
waters in 11 counties, Commissioner Jackson also advanced a major
regulatory proposal that would vastly improve wastewater management
"This Category One proposal is our largest ever, and will
mean safer drinking water for New Jersey's families and cleaner
habitat for rare species of wildlife," Commissioner Jackson
said at a press conference held near the Stony Brook in Mercer County's
Hopewell Township. "Through the Corzine Administration's new
Water Quality Management Planning rules, we will strengthen our
ability to shield environmentally fragile areas from the threats
that invariably accompany inappropriate development," the Commissioner
The Category One designation, the state's highest level of water-quality
protection, limits development impacts and discharges of pollutants
to streams, rivers and lakes, ensuring no further degradation to
waters that either support critical wildlife or feed into a drinking-water
Portions or all of the following waters have been selected for
Category One protection: Wallkill River, Sussex County; Musconetcong
River and Pequest River, Warren County; Stony Brook, Mercer County;
Pompeston Creek, Burlington County; Salem River and Oldmans Creek,
Salem County; Toms River, Ocean County; Rockaway River and Split
Rock Reservoir, Morris County; Swimming River Reservoir Tributaries,
Monmouth County; Oak Ridge Reservoir and Wanaque Reservoir Tributaries,
Passaic County; Lamington River, Somerset County; and Ramapo River,
Bergen County. Approximately 250 miles of streams are in the Highlands
Preservation Area, and already receive some level of protection.
For the first time, the proposed water quality management planning
rules address the impacts of septic systems on groundwater, and
establish new standards for wastewater management planning, removing
environmentally sensitive lands from sewer service areas.
Under these rules, municipal planning authorities would be required
to update their wastewater management plans. Currently, 141 municipalities
are without plans and another 298 municipalities have outdated plans.
Further, the new rules, once adopted, would give counties a nine-month
grace period to submit an application to update their wastewater
management plan or face withdrawal of their sewer service area designation.
Without a sewer service area designation, developers cannot obtain
sewer hookups for new development. The rules propose that upon completion
of a wastewater management plan, the appropriate sewer-service area
designation will be restored.
Both sets of proposed regulations will be published in the May
21 edition of the New Jersey Register. Following a 60-day public
comment period, final rules will be adopted.
To view a copy of the Category One rule proposal or the proposal
to amend the state's Water Quality Management Rules, visit the DEP's
Web site at: http://www.nj.gov/dep/rules/notices.html