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.
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:
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.