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Water Quality Management Plan Overview

The Department’s Water Quality Management Planning program originates from the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, commonly referred to as the Clean Water  Act (33 U.S.C 1251 et seq.).  Sections 201, 208 and 303 of the Clean Water Act provided a framework for water quality planning in the State.

One of the tools the Department utilizes to assure that both current decision making and future planning adequately take into account protection of water quality and quantity is the Water Quality Management Planning rule, N.J.A.C. 7:15.  The Department develops and administers this rule pursuant to the NJ Water Quality Planning Act and as required by Sections 303(e) and 208 of the Federal Clean Water Act. Accordingly, the WQM Planning rules prescribe water quality management policies, procedures and standards.

Designated Planning Agency

Designated Planning Agencies (DPAs) are agencies which conduct areawide WQM planning pursuant to the Water Quality Planning Act, N.J.S.A. 58:11A-1 et seq.  Non-Department DPAs with approved plan amendment procedures may have additional submission requirements.  The Department is not responsible for transmitting amendment requests to the DPAs.  The Department or the DPA may request additional information during the amendment review process. To view approved DPA amendment procedures click http://www.nj.gov/dep/wqmp/guidance.html.

A list of DPAs follows:.     

  • Atlantic County WQM planning area - Atlantic County Board of Chosen Freeholders (Designated planning agency with approved plan amendment procedures)
  • Cape May County WQM planning area - Cape May County Board of Chosen Freeholders (Designated planning agency with approved plan amendment procedures)
  • Lower Delaware WQM planning area - DEP
  • Lower Raritan/Middlesex County WQM planning area - Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders (Designated planning agency with approved plan amendment procedures)
  • Mercer County WQM planning area  - Mercer County Board of Chosen Freeholders (Designated planning agency with approved plan amendment procedures)
  • Monmouth County WQM planning area - Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders (Designated planning agency with approved plan amendment procedures)
    Northeast WQM planning area - DEP
  • Ocean County WQM planning area - Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholder
  • Sussex County WQM planning area - Sussex County Board of Chosen Freeholders (Designated planning agency with approved plan amendment procedures)
  • Tri-County WQM planning area - Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC).  The DVRPC does not have approved plan amendment procedures and is no longer acting as a DPA; however, they should be identified as the DPA and consulted under N.J.A.C. 7:15-3.5(f)1.
  • DEP for Upper Delaware WQM planning area
  • DEP for Upper Raritan WQM planning area

In accordance with the Water Quality Management Planning Act and Section 208 of the Clean Water Act, the governor designated twelve areawide Water Quality Management Planning Areas in New Jersey:

Click on an area on the map to the right or on the text links below to view recent amendments in that WQMP area:

Upper Delaware Upper Raritan Sussex County Northeast Lower Raritan/Middlesex County Mercer County Monmouth County Tri-County Lower Delaware Cape May County Atlantic County Ocean County

The areawide WQM plans are umbrella plans, each with various adopted components that address different aspects of water resource planning.

Wastewater management plans (WMPs) assess the cumulative water resource impact of future development and are a component of the areawide WQM plans. Total maximum daily loads (TMDLs), which address existing water quality impairment and establish an implementation plan to restore the water quality of those waters, are another component of the areawide plans.  The individual components are adopted into the appropriate areawide WQM plan in order to give them effect.

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