DEP Establishes Stricter
Pollution Limits to Safeguard New Jersey's Waterways
(03/117) TRENTON - Moving forward
with an accelerated plan to reduce pollution in New Jersey's
streams and rivers with impaired water quality, state Department
of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bradley M.
Campbell today announced the adoption of new, stricter limits
on the amount of fecal coliform going into more than 300
miles of waterway in the state.
"Controlling the amount of pollutants
like fecal coliform that enter New Jersey's rivers and streams
advances the McGreevey Administration's larger efforts to
protect and improve the quality of the state's precious
water resources," said DEP Commissioner Campbell. "Our
next step is to track down and identify the sources of fecal
coliform contamination in the targeted waterbodies so that
we can effectively control, reduce or eliminate the pollution
at its source."
The federal Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA) approved 34 pollution limits or Total Maximum Daily
Loads (TMDLs) for fecal coliform for impaired waterbodies
in New Jersey's Northeast watersheds. The DEP has established
an additional 134 TMDLs for fecal coliform in the remainder
of the state in the Northwest, Lower Delaware, Raritan and
Coastal Water regions, which are awaiting EPA approval.
EPA approval also is pending for an additional 35 TMDLs
for lakes where phosphorus is the pollutant of concern.
The thirty-four approved TMDLs address
305 river miles or approximately 87 percent of the total
river miles impaired by fecal coliform (there are approximately
352 miles of fecal coliform impaired river miles) in the
Northeast watershed region. To achieve water quality standards
in the impaired waterbodies, reductions in the fecal coliform
load will range from 37 to 98 percent. The DEP is partnering
with local entities to identify the water pollution caused
by nonpoint sources. Additional monitoring by the department
will determine if the contamination source is human or nonhuman
and what appropriate corrective actions are needed to control
or eliminate the pollution source.
Under the 1972 federal Clean Water Act,
states must develop lists of waterways that do not meet
minimum federal water quality standards. In addition, states
must establish TMDLs for these impaired waterbodies, which
specify the maximum amount of a pollutant the impaired lake
or river can receive and still meet water quality standards.
A TMDL allocates pollutants among existing point and nonpoint
sources, so that the total pollutant amount will not exceed
the overall maximum limit set for each waterbody. By law,
EPA must approve or disapprove impaired waterbody lists
and TMDLs established by states.
The 34 approved TMDLs establish fecal coliform
reductions for segments of the following impaired waterbodies:
the Macopin River, Wanaque River, Ramapo River, Saddle River,
West Branch of the Saddle River, Ramsey Brook, Hohokus Brook,
Passaic River, Preakness Brook, Deepavaal Brook, Diamond
Brook, Goffle Brook, Peckman River, Hackensack River, Pascack
Brook, Musquapsink Brook, Tenakill Brook, Coles Brook, Black
Brook, Dead River, Rockaway River, Canoe Brook, Beaver Brook,
and Stony Brook.
In September 2002, DEP and EPA signed a
memorandum of agreement that formalized New Jersey's commitment
to establish TMDLs. Prior to the agreement, only eleven
TMDLs had been approved for New Jersey by EPA over the previous
eight years. Under the new agreement, the DEP agreed to
establish 155 fecal coliform and eutrophic lake TMDLs by
June 30, 2003. DEP established 203 TMDLs prior to the deadline
and is waiting for EPA approval for the remainder of the
"Our agreement with EPA strengthens
New Jersey's position as a leader among states complying
with the Clean Water Act and benefiting from its environmental
safeguards," added Commissioner Campbell.
As per the agreement, EPA will provide
DEP programmatic and legal guidance, financial support via
grants and contracts, and technical assistance with the
TMDL program implementation.
In 2003 and 2004, the department will develop
and establish additional TMDLs and other management approaches
to address phosphorus impairments in the entire non-tidal
Passaic River Basin, Rancocas Creek, Pennsauken Creek, Cooper
River, Manasquan River, Wallkill River and Papakating Creek.
Temperature problems in the Pequannock River will be addressed,
as well as Arsenic in the Wallkill and pH in the Atlantic
Coastal and Lower Delaware Water regions. New Jersey also
is participating in a tri-state effort with Delaware and
Pennsylvania to develop four TMDLs for PCBs in the Delaware
River. Because the Delaware River is a shared waterbody,
the Delaware River Basin Commission is taking the technical
lead in the joint project, with the EPA agreeing to establish
the TMDLs. The target date for establishing TMDLs for the
Delaware River is December 15, 2003. A public hearing for
the Delaware River TMDLs is scheduled for October 16, 2003
from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the Independence Visitor
Center in Philadelphia, which is located at 1 North Independence
Mall West at Sixth and Market streets.
Fecal coliform enters a waterbody from
a number of sources including human, excessive populations
of geese, domestic or confined animals, agricultural practices,
and wildlife. Fecal coliform from these sources can reach
waterbodies directly, through overland runoff, or through
sewage or stormwater conveyance facilities. The DEP is addressing
the fecal coliform impairment of waterbodies through monitoring,
systematic source trackdown, matching management strategies
with types of sources, identifying responsible entities
and aligning available DEP multi-program resources to implement