The Surface Water Quality Standards (SWQS) are rules established under the New Jersey Administrative Code at N.J.A.C. 7:9B that include the policies, surface water classifications, and surface water quality criteria necessary to protect the quality of New Jersey’s surface waters. Click on the “Overview” and “Rules” tabs above to learn more.
The SWQS protect the health of New Jersey waters and ensure that they are suitable for all existing and designated uses, including recreation and water supply. SWQS also protect the health of New Jersey citizens and visitors by ensuring that the waters at our bathing beaches are safe for swimming, that water supplies are suitable sources of drinking water and the fish and shellfish harvested from our waters are safe to eat. SWQS protect waters for other uses such as trout production and trout maintenance, and agricultural and industrial use.
The SWQS establish the water quality objectives that are met through other Department programs to protect New Jersey’s surface waters. These include:
The SWQS also provide useful information to homeowners, developers, consultants, realtors, surface water dischargers, tourists, recreationists, watershed groups, academia, and environmental groups regarding stream classifications, antidegradation designations, water quality criteria, and associated policies.