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State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
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NJ DEPT. OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION NEWS RELEASE
RELEASE: 3/26/01
01/
CONTACT: Loretta O'Donnell or Amy Collings
609-984-1795 or 609-292-2994

DEP ISSUES LIMITED WATER PERMIT FOR CONSUMERS NJ WOOLWICH TO PROTECT AQUIFER & OTHER USERS IN GLOUCESTER/SALEM COUNTIES

The state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today issued a limited water allocation permit to Consumers New Jersey Water Co.'s Woolwich system (Gloucester County) which allows some increase in current aquifer withdrawals for the next two years, but requires an alternate water supply plan for meeting future demand. "

After study by DEP and the U.S. Geological Survey, it was determined that this limited allocation will not result in saltwater intrusion or creation of a new critical water area, and will not reverse the gains made previously in the PRM (Potomac-Raritan-Magothy) aquifer within Critical Area 2. It is important for long-term planning, that an alternative water supply plan be developed to accommodate future growth demands in the area without threatening the aquifer or other users," said DEP Commissioner Bob Shinn.

The authorized allocation is the same as DEP proposed in January prior to a public hearing and comment period. It allows an annual allocation of 116.5 million gallons from two wells until 2003 with a peak monthly limit of 30 million gallons. Consumers had requested 360 million gallons a year for a large new residential development in Woolwich, Weatherby by Summit Ventures.

DEP decided on the partial allocation amount based on USGS's groundwater modeling projections of the impact of permit requests in the area on the PRM aquifer. DEP proposed limited allocations for three other permit requests in January and will finalize these permit decisions shortly. The other pending permit allocations are for Woodstown Borough, NJ American Water. Co.-Logan Township, and South Jersey Water Supply Co.- Harrison Township.

In addition to requiring Consumers Water Co. to submit an alternative water plan within six months, the permit requires adoption of a water conservation plan and quarterly reports on water use including aquifer levels and sodium and chloride concentrations.

USGS is currently conducting Phase 2 of the Salem-Gloucester study, to be completed in 2003, for expanded modeling to determine likely chloride and sodium concentrations and arrival times at specific well fields based upon various scenarios, and to determine optimum pumping locations to minimize impacts.

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