PROPOSES STORMWATER CONTROLS TO PROTECT AND
SUSTAIN NJ’s LIMITED WATER RESOURCES
New Rules Support and Encourage Smart Growth Practices
- Department of Environmental Protection
(DEP) Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell today announced two
proposed packages of regulations designed to reduce pollution
levels in New Jersey’s water resources caused by stormwater
runoff and to help replenish vital ground water supplies
throughout the state.
“Sprawl development and poor stormwater
management throughout New Jersey for decades have increased
pollution in our surface and ground waters and have made
our recurring droughts more severe,” said Commissioner
Campbell. “These stormwater rules reduce the impacts
of development and represent a major, long-overdue step
to fundamentally change the way we protect and maintain
New Jersey’s water resources.”
The first set of proposals announced today
would update the state’s Stormwater Management Rules,
which have not been updated since their original adoption
in 1983. The rules stress new performance standards for
ground water recharge, including both water quality and
quantity controls, and promote the integrity of the state’s
surface and ground water resources.
The rules would require maintaining 100
percent of the average annual groundwater recharge statewide,
a major initiative toward mitigating against future droughts.
“As this year’s drought has
shown, recharging our aquifers is crucial to managing New
Jersey’s water supply to support growing communities,”
said Campbell. “Our groundwater resources are precious
and finite and must be maintained through better management
In addition to the recharge standards,
the regulations also stress water quality controls. Statewide,
these rules require the implementation of Best Management
Practices (BMPs) for new development in order to reduce
pollution runoff levels by 80 percent. These rules also
provide the special protections needed for the state’s
high quality waters, including drinking water reservoirs
and streams that provide critical natural resource habitat,
by requiring the protection of vegetated areas along waterways
designated as Category One (C1) water resources.
Consistent with Governor McGreevey’s
Smart Growth initiative, these rules further promote redevelopment
in New Jersey’s urban and older suburban areas by
waiving the 100 percent recharge requirement in these areas.
The rules also promote Smart Growth through the use of low
impact site development techniques for stormwater management
systems designed to maintain natural vegetation and drainage.
The second set of stormwater control proposals
would require municipalities to develop control plans for
stormwater runoff resulting from both existing and new development.
These municipal stormwater permitting rules address U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) federally-mandated
requirements for Phase II stormwater rules, which were published
in December 1999. All 50 states are in the process of implementing
these new permitting and stormwater management programs.
The permits will be issued for all municipalities;
large public complexes such as colleges, prisons, and hospitals;
and highway systems operated by counties and other government
agencies, such as the New Jersey Department of Transportation
and the South Jersey Transportation Authority.
DEP will provide support to municipalities
in preparing these new water protection rules and initiatives.
As part of that support, a recent amendment to Section 319
of the federal Clean Water Act will allow DEP to allocate
some $3 million in federal funding to municipalities on
a competitive basis to implement these new management initiatives.
“These regulations recognize that
new development is not the only problem---we need to address
polluted runoff from areas that already are developed,”
added Campbell. “Few people realize the overwhelming
impact of everyday litter and materials running off into
our stormwater systems. By better managing ordinary things,
such as lawn products, pet waste, and the trash from our
garbage cans, we can all help create a cleaner, safer water
future for New Jersey.”
Through local ordinances and programs,
as well as public outreach and education, municipalities
would need to take common sense steps to reduce non-point
source pollution, such as limiting unnecessary pesticide
and fertilizer treatments of lawns, proper disposal of yard
and pet waste, retrofitting of storm sewer grates and better
municipal maintenance yard management.
DEP developed both sets of stormwater control
measures with significant input from regulated communities,
including the New Jersey League of Municipalities, the New
Jersey County Planners Association, and the Association
of New Jersey Environmental Commissions. Developers, mayors,
and environmental groups were also heavily consulted in
the rulemaking process.
The proposed rule packages will appear
in the January 6, 2003 New Jersey Register and are subject
to a 60-day public comment period to afford ample public
input on the rules.