Section 604(b) Water Quality Planning Grant Program (including American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 [ARRA])
The State of New Jersey receives funds under Section 604(b) of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendments of 1972 (33 U.S.C. §§ 1251 et seq., commonly referred to as the federal Clean Water Act (CWA)), to carry out water quality management planning activities under Sections 205(j) and 303 (e) of the Act. These activities include studies to determine the nature, extent and causes of water quality problems, and to establish point and nonpoint source pollution controls necessary to solve those problems. Further, Section 205(j)3 requires, with certain exceptions, that at least 40 percent of the water quality management planning grant funds awarded to the State be allocated as pass-through grants to regional public comprehensive planning organizations (RPCPOs) and “appropriate interstate organizations.” In New Jersey, RPCPOs include interstate water quality management agencies, such as the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, designated areawide water quality management planning agencies, counties and in some cases municipalities.
The CWA further requires that each state initiate and maintain a continuing planning process (CPP) for areawide water quality management planning that results in point and nonpoint source controls as necessary to meet the State’s water quality standards. Wastewater management planning is central to New Jersey’s CPP. On July 7, 2008, amendments to the Water Quality Management Planning rules at N.J.A.C. 7:15 became effective. Under these rules, the Department revised its approach to the development of wastewater management planning to include an expanded environmental assessment of proposed wastewater treatment and land use scenarios, as key methods to protect water resources through the development of updated wastewater management plans (WMPs). This is accomplished by examining alternative land use development patterns and treatment technologies to minimize adverse environmental impacts associated with development. Additionally, the rules required the transition of wastewater management planning responsibility from the previously designated 161 wastewater management planning agencies to New Jersey’s 21 counties.
In SFY09 the Department chose to support the wastewater management planning effort by allocating all base 604(b) pass-through grants to counties that accepted wastewater management planning responsibility to support their development of WMPs as required by the July 7, 2008 rule amendments. The Department contacted each county advising them of the availability of grant-in-aid funding to assist them in accomplishing an updated WMP. Sixteen counties applied for and received this grant funding. Four counties declined wastewater management planning responsibility and are therefore ineligible to receive this funding.
Additionally, in 2009, the federal government also provided supplementary 604(b) funds under the “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009” (ARRA). The ARRA provided $39,391,601 for water quality management planning nationally. This money was apportioned based on the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) allocation. One percent of the total CWSRF allocated to each state had to be used for water quality management planning. New Jersey’s portion of the water quality management planning money was $1,617,645. Additionally, 20 percent of this grant money was set aside for planning activities involving green infrastructure, water or energy efficiency improvements or other environmentally innovative activities. All counties that applied for SFY09 604(b) grant funding were automatically eligible for additional funds made available through the ARRA. Fifteen counties applied for and received this grant funding.
For more information on 604(b) funding, click on the link below. For information about the 604(b) contracts please contact Deborah Bechtel at (609) 777-4349 or by email at Deborah.Bechtel@dep.nj.gov.