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Water Quality Assessment

The Bureau of Water Quality Standards and Assessment (BWQSA) is responsible for conducting and coordinating water quality assessments for all waters of the State. These assessments are reported through the New Jersey Integrated Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment Report (Integrated Report). The Integrated Reports are intended to provide effective tools for maintaining high quality waters and improving the quality of waters that do not attain their designated uses (i.e., contain impaired waterbodies). The Integrated Reports describe attainment of the designated uses of surface waters of the State, as specified in the New Jersey Surface Water Quality Standards (N.J.A.C. 7:9B), which include: aquatic life, recreation, drinking water, fish consumption, shellfish consumption, industrial and agricultural. In addition to identifying impaired waterbodies, the Integrated Reports identify subwatersheds where there is no water quality impairment, i.e., all designated uses are attained.

General Information About New Jersey's Integrated Report

Methods Document

A description of the methodology used to assess water quality for the Integrated Report is provided in the Integrated Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment Methods Document (Methods Document) prepared to accompany the Integrated Report. The Methods Document is a companion to the Integrated Report. The goal of the Methods Document is to provide an objective and scientifically-sound water quality assessment methodology including:

  • A description of the data the Department will use to assess attainment of the designated uses;
  • The quality assurance aspects of the data;
  • A detailed description of the scientific methods used to assess water quality data, including compliance with applicable surface water quality standards and criteria, and status and spatial extent of designated use support;
  • The rationale for the placement of waterbodies on, and removing them from, the 303(d) List; and
  • The factors to be considered in ranking and prioritizing 303(d)-listed waters for development of total maximum daily loads (TMDLs).
Integrated List of Waters ("305(b) Report")

The primary deliverable of the statewide water quality assessment process is the Integrated List of Waters (Integrated List) or "305(b) Report", which identifies the use attainment and assessment status of all waters of the State. The Integrated List identifies: 1) if sufficient information is available to to assess support of designated uses, 2) the status and spatial extent of support of the designated uses, and 3) the cause(s) and source(s) of non-support. Waters that do not support applicable designated uses are placed on the 303(d) List of Water Quality Limited Waters, along with the pollutant cause.

303(d) List of Water Quality Limited Waters ("303(d) List")

The federal Clean Water Act mandates that states submit to USEPA, on a biennial basis, a list of waterbodies that are not attaining water quality standards despite the implementation of technology-based effluent limits. All such impaired waterbodies must be identified on this List of Water Quality Limited Waters or "303(d) List." States must prioritize 303(d)-listed waterbodies for TMDL development and identify those high priority waterbodies for which they anticipate establishing TMDLs in the next two years. Since 2002, New Jersey has integrated its 303(d) List with its 305(b) Water Quality Inventory Report and submitted to USEPA a comprehensive, Integrated Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment Report that satisfies the reporting requirements of Sections 303(d), 305(b) and 314 of the Federal Clean Water Act.

Additional Information

Additional Information about the water quality assessment process may be obtained at the link to general information, above, orby contacting the Bureau of Water Quality Standards and Assessment at (609) 777-1753.

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Department of Environmental Protection
P. O. Box 402
Trenton, NJ 08625-0402

Last Modified: March 25, 2011

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