DEP Takes Enforcement Action Against Golf Courses Violating Water Supply Act
Severe Drought Conditions Continue
(02/91) TRENTON Reinforcing the vital need to adhere to drought emergency restrictions, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protections (DEP) Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell today announced that seven golf courses have been fined for violating the states Water Supply Management Act.
New Jersey is still experiencing severe water shortfalls and conservation remains a critical responsibility of residents and businesses alike, said Commissioner Campbell. We understand that golf courses and other industries have financial concerns as a result of drought restrictions, and we have worked to accommodate them when possible. However, ensuring the public an adequate supply of safe drinking water is our first priority.
Investigating compliance with water use restrictions, DEP issued Notices of Violation and penalties ranging from $1,000 to $50,000 to the following golf courses: Westlake Golf Course & Country Club, Jackson Township, Ocean County; Shore Oaks Golf Club, Howell Township, Monmouth County; Eagle Ridge Golf Course, Lakewood Township, Ocean County; Cohanzick Country Club, Bridgeton, Cumberland County; the Pinelands Golf Course, Winslow Township, Camden County; Running Deer Golf Course, Pittsgrove Township, Salem County, and the Buena Vista Country Club, Buena Vista Township, Atlantic County.
On March 11, 2002, DEP issued an Administrative Order prohibiting golf courses from using more than 50 percent of their monthly allocation of water under the departments Water Allocation Permit and Water Use Registration programs. In response to concerns raised by golf course operators, a subsequent order was issued on June 20, 2002 allowing golf courses to use 80 percent of their monthly water allocation.
As required under the Water Supply Management Act, any person who has the capability to draw 100,000 gallons of water per day must obtain a DEP issued Water Use Registration regardless of the amount they plan to use. For those entities that draw more than 100,000 gallons of water per day, they must obtain a Water Allocation Permit. The installation of flow meters is required as part of a Water Use Registration issued to golf courses in order to provide the department a record of their actual water usage.
Westlake Golf Course & Country Club has the capability to draw 100,000 gallons per day or more of water from its eight wells for irrigation. From September 1999 through October 2000, Westlake diverted 29.03 million gallons of water without obtaining a required Water Use Registration or Water Allocation Permit. Westlake obtained a registration on November 17, 2000. In 2001, Westlake violated its Water Use Registration by drawing more than 100,000 gallons of water per day from May through October. Similar violations were committed during May and June in 2002. On August 5, 2002, a settlement agreement was reached between Westlake and the DEP in the amount of $15,000. Westlake was issued a water allocation permit on August 16, 2002.
Shore Oaks Golf Club has the capability to draw more than 100,000 gallons of water per day from four wells and an onsite pond for irrigation. Shore Oaks diverted water from May 1992 through the present without a valid Water Use Registration or Water Allocation Permit from the department. On September 9, 2002, Shore Oaks and the DEP came to a settlement agreement in the amount of $50,000, and has since applied for a Water Use Registration and Water Allocation Permit.
Eagle Ridge Golf Course has the capability to draw more than 100,000 gallons of water per day from four wells and an onsite pond for irrigation. Eagle Ridge diverted water from October 1999 through the present without a valid Water Use Registration or Water Allocation Permit from the department. On September 4, 2002, Eagle Ridge and the DEP came to a settlement agreement in the amount of $25,000. Eagle Ridge has applied for a Water Use Registration.
The remaining four of the seven golf courses in violation were cited and fined for failure to install flow meters on water diversion sources.
On July 11, 2002, an Administrative Order and Notice of Civil Administrative Penalty Assessment in the amount of $4,000 was issued to Buena Vista Country Club. On the same date, Cohanzick Country Club was issued a $1,000 penalty and the Pinelands Golf Course a $3,000 penalty. To date, flow meters have been installed at each facility and settlement agreements have been reached.
In addition, on August 15, 2002, Running Deer Golf Course was fined $3,000 for failing to install water meters on its water diversion sources. They have subsequently installed the required meters.