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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
4/1/03

Contact: Amy Cradic
609-984-1795

DEP Issues Warning to New Jersey's Businesses and Water Suppliers:
Water Allocation Permits Will Be Strictly Enforced

New DEP Communications Effort Launched with Regulated Community

(03/44) TRENTON -- To help reduce the frequency and severity of drought emergencies in New Jersey's future, Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell today issued the first in a series of enforcement alerts to all regulated water users, warning them of increased DEP inspections and strict enforcement of water allocation permits.

"We can no longer address drought emergencies on a crisis-to-crisis basis, but must proactively conserve and protect our water supplies for the future," said DEP Commissioner Campbell. "This alert was issued to warn the regulated community of stepped up inspections and enforcement, providing them advance notice to improve compliance with water supply laws and possibly eliminate our need to take corrective action."

Groups targeted by this enforcement alert include those holding water allocation permits authorizing the use of ground and surface water for public drinking water supplies, industrial processing and cooling, golf courses, irrigation, sand and gravel operations, remediation activities, and power generation. The alert includes a basic listing of permit requirements to help determine a facility's overall compliance. There are approximately 750 water allocation permit holders in New Jersey.

In addition to increased inspections, the DEP will issue Notices of Violation (NOV) to all entities that fail to submit quarterly monitoring reports or exceed their water withdrawal limits. The NOVs will be triggered from information retrieved through a DEP-automated database system that can be used to track non-compliance activities by regulated water users.

The enforcement alert issued today is the first released under a new, comprehensive advisory system created by the DEP's Compliance and Enforcement Program to improve outreach to the regulated community. This new compliance advisory system includes: Enforcement Alerts, which highlight areas of increased non-compliance that call for stepped up enforcement; Compliance Warnings, which highlight areas of concern; and Compliance Updates, which emphasize incentive programs and tools to aid or improve regulatory compliance.

In addition to issuing these advisories directly to the regulated community where possible, the DEP will post the advisories on a newly improved compliance and enforcement web link from the DEP's homepage: www.state.nj.us/dep/enforcement, which will be launched in April 2003. Training and on-site compliance assistance, sample inspection checklists and clear instructions to help facilities determine which checklists apply to their operations will also be available on the improved enforcement web link this summer. As part of the DEP's outreach efforts with the regulated community, an enforcement listserv, which will deliver all newly generated advisories to interested parties by email, is also being developed and will be available through the new web link.

 

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