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Coastal Nonpoint Pollution Control Program

Nonpoint Source Pollution

photoNonpoint source (NPS) pollution originates from many diffuse sources. It is carried and deposited into waterways and groundwater by rainfall or snowmelt moving over and through the ground. As the runoff moves, it picks up natural and human-made pollutants, depositing them into lakes, rivers, wetlands, coastal waters, and even underground sources of drinking water. These pollutants include:

  • Excess fertilizers, herbicides, and insecticides from agricultural lands, and residential areas;
  • Oil, grease, and toxic chemicals from vehicles, urban and developed land and energy production facilities;
  • Sediment from improperly managed construction sites, crop and forest lands, and eroding streambanks;
  • Salt from irrigation practices and acid drainage from abandoned mines;
  • Bacteria and nutrients from livestock, pet wastes, and faulty septic systems;
  • Atmospheric deposition and hydromodification are also sources of nonpoint source pollution.

Visit the NJDEP Stormwater and Nonpoint Source Pollution website for additional details.

Federal Coastal Nonpoint Pollution Control Program

The Coastal Nonpoint Pollution Control Program (Section 6217 of the federal Coastal Zone Management Act Reauthorization Amendments of 1990- CZARA) addresses NPS pollution source problems in coastal waters. The federal program is administered jointly by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Section 6217 requires states and territories with approved Coastal Zone Management Programs to develop a Coastal Nonpoint Pollution Control Program describing how the state/territory will implement NPS pollution controls, known as management measures. There are six categories of management measures that each state is required to address:

  • agricultural sources,
  • forestry,
  • urban areas,
  • marinas and recreational boating,
  • hydromodification, and
  • wetlands, riparian areas, and vegetated treatment systems.

The measures are more fully described in the Guidance Specifying Management Measures for Sources of Nonpoint Pollution in Coastal Waters (USEPA).

Introduction to New Jersey’s Program

photoNew Jersey developed its Coastal Nonpoint Pollution Control Program plan (CNPCP) in response to the congressional mandate. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) is responsible for administering the CNPCP. The management measures are addressed and implemented by divisions and sections within the NJDEP, as well as other state departments such as the New Jersey Department of Agriculture. There are several types of mechanisms by which the management measures are implemented. Some are voluntary programs, while others include enforceable policies created by rules, regulations, memorandums of agreement, executive orders, etc.

The New Jersey CNPCP management measures apply statewide.

Program Coordination

The CNPCP must be coordinated with specific sections of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (also known as the Clean Water Act). These are: Section 208 (Water Quality Management Planning Program); Section 303(d) (Total Maximum Daily Load Program (TMDL)); Section 319 (Nonpoint Source Pollution Control Program); and Section 320 (National Estuary Program). Various offices within the Department are responsible for carrying out these programs. The Office of Water Resource Management Coordination implements the Water Quality Management Program; TMDL development and the 319(h) grant program are administered within the Bureau of Environmental Analysis, Restoration and Standards. Three National Estuary Programs involve New Jersey waters: Barnegat, Delaware and NY/NJ Harbor. The Department maintains multidisciplinary liaisons to each of the national estuary programs.

In New Jersey, the CNPCP can be viewed as a wagon wheel with the Coastal Management Program at the center, with oversight and management responsibilities, and the other divisions, sections, and programs within the NJDEP and other Departments as the spokes implementing the actual rules, regulations, and programs that fulfill the management measures. The spokes are many and include the Soil Conservation Program, the Site Remediation Program, the Pesticide Control Program, the New Jersey Sea Grant Education and Outreach Program, the Green Acres Program, the Stormwater Management and Permitting Program, the Division of Land Use Regulation and all associated permits issued by that Division, the Dam Safety Program, the Pinelands Commission, programs within the New Jersey Department of Transportation, and others. The Coastal Management Program is both at the center of the wheel as well as one of the spokes as it also plays a role in implementation of many of the management measures.

Full Approval for New Jersey's Coastal Nonpoint Pollution Control Program

In July 1995, New Jersey submitted to EPA and NOAA its Coastal Nonpoint Pollution Control Program document outlining how the state, through regulatory and voluntary means, implements the management measures. In 1997 NOAA and EPA conditionally approved the Program, determining that some of the management measures were not sufficiently met. Since that time, the NJDEP has made several changes in policy and has entered into MOAs with other state Departments to fulfill the requirements. In January 2010, NOAA and EPA granted New Jersey full approval of its Coastal Nonpoint Pollution Control Program.

Relevant New Jersey Environmental Statutes

As mentioned above a majority of the Section 6217 management measures are fulfilled by environmental statutes and their implementing regulations.

The following statutes contain rules that provide the NJDEP with the authority to implement the Section 6217 management measures:

  • New Jersey Water Quality Planning Act, N.J.S.A. 58:11A-1 et seq.
  • NJ Soil Conservation Act N.J.S.A.4:24-1 et seq.
  • Soil Erosion and Sediment Control Act N.J.S.A. 4:24-39 et seq. (statute)
  • Agriculture Retention and Development Act N.J.S.A. 4:1C-11 et seq. (statute)
  • Pesticide Control Act N.J.S.A. 13:1F-1 et seq. (statute | background)
  • Pinelands Protection Act N.J.S.A. 13:18A-1 et seq. (statute)
  • Coastal Area Facility Review Act N.J.S.A. 13:19-1 et seq. (statute)
  • Waterfront Development Act N.J.S.A.12:5-3 et seq. (statute)
  • Wetlands Act of 1970 N.J.S.A. 13:9A-1 et seq. (statute)
  • Flood Hazard Area Control Act N.J.S.A. 58:16A-50 et seq. (statute)
  • Freshwater Wetlands Protection Act N.J.S.A. 13:9B-1 et seq. (statute)
  • Water Pollution Control Act N.J.S.A. 58:10-1 et seq. (statute)
  • Deleterious Substances Act N.J.S.A. 23:5-28 (statute)
  • Solid Waste Management Act N.J.S.A. 13:1E-1 et seq. (regulations)
  • Reality Improvement Sewerage and Facilities Act (“Chapter 199”) N.J.S.A. 58:11-23 (regulations | background)
  • Municipal Boards of Health N.J.S.A. 26:3-1 et seq. (statute | NJDOH)
  • County Environmental Health Act N.J.S.A. 26:3A2-21 et seq. (background | program info | statute)
  • Statewide Source Separation and Recycling Act N.J.S.A. 13:1E-1 et seq.
  • Clean Communities Act N.J.S.A. 13:1E-92 (background)
  • Spill Compensation and Control Act N.J.S.A. 58:10-23.11 et seq. (regulations)
  • Environmental Cleanup Responsibility Act N.J.S.A. 13:1K-6 et seq.
  • Marine Sewerage Treatment Act
  • New Jersey Boat Act of 1962 N.J.S.A. 12-7-34.36 et seq. and N.J.S.A. 12:7A-29 (statute)
  • Delaware and Raritan Canal Commission N.J.S.A. 13:13A-1 et seq. (background | regulations)
  • Federal Sea Grant College Program Act (background)

How To Get a Copy of Rules and Regulations

Table of NJ Environmental Rules:

When you search for statutes on, place the statute reference number in quotation marks in your search. For example, when searching for the Deleterious Substances Act N.J.S.A 23:5-28, use the search term “23:5-28”.

Note: How To Get a Copy of Rules and Regulations

LexisNexis ® is the publisher of the New Jersey Register (N.J.R.) and the New Jersey Administrative Code (N.J.A.C.).

The New Jersey Register is the official journal of State agency rulemaking. Published twice a month, the Register contains the full text of rules that State agencies propose and adopt, as well as notices of public hearings, Gubernatorial Orders, and other notices.

The New Jersey Administrative Code is a compilation of all of the rules of State agencies.

To purchase a copy of the New Jersey Register or the New Jersey Administrative Code, contact LexisNexis ® Customer Service at (800) 223-1940, or go to the LexisNexis ® bookstore on the internet at

The New Jersey Register and the New Jersey Administrative Code may be available for review at individual public and university libraries throughout the State. Contact the library directly to determine if the publications are available.

Table of NJ Environmental Statutes and Regulations:

When you search for statutes on, place the statute reference number in quotation marks in your search. For example, when searching for the Deleterious Substances Act N.J.S.A 23:5-28, use the search term “23:5-28”.

CNPCP Highlights

Clean Marina Program

To protect critical coastal habitat areas that are home to a variety of organisms including algae, plankton, shellfish, and finfish, the NJDEP has developed a statewide clean marina program. This program encourages marina owners, yacht clubs, boatyards and boaters to voluntarily adopt practices that help prevent adverse impacts to water quality, sensitive habitats, and living resources in proximity to marinas. The New Jersey Clean Marina Program will help prevent adverse impacts to coastal resources by encouraging best environmental management practices through education and outreach to boaters and marina owners. It provides assistance and guidance to enable marinas and other recreational boating facilities to reduce the sources and impacts of nonpoint source pollution. Focus areas include proper and safe sewage management, fueling operations, fish and solid waste management, solid and liquid waste recycling, and boat maintenance and repair.

Stormwater Management

The Stormwater Permitting Program helps prevent degradation of waters caused by runoff from new development, roads, municipal lots, commercial facilities, etc. It is one of the most ambitious programs undertaken by the Department. Because of its size (affecting up to 20,000 facilities in New Jersey alone), innovative ways of permitting are being utilized that streamline the process and lower the usual economic costs of environmental regulation while insuring that the stormwater permitting process is fair, reasonable, and effective. There are several types of permits including general permits, individual permits, and Municipal Stormwater General Permits.

Two sets of new stormwater rules became effective February 2, 2004 that establish a comprehensive framework for addressing water quality impacts associated with existing and future stormwater discharges. The first set of rules is the Phase II New Jersey Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Stormwater Regulation Program Rules (N.J.A.C. 7:14A). These Rules are intended to address and reduce pollutants associated with existing stormwater runoff. The permit program establishes the Statewide Basic Requirements that must be implemented to reduce nonpoint source pollutant loads from these sources. The second set of regulations is known as the Stormwater Management Rules (N.J.A.C. 7:8). These Rules set forth the required components of regional and municipal stormwater management plans and establish the stormwater management design and performance standards for new (proposed) development. The design and performance standards for new development include groundwater recharge, runoff quantity controls, runoff quality controls, and Category One buffers.

For more information please see the NJDEP Stormwater and Nonpoint Source Pollution Program website.

Onsite Disposal Systems (Septic Systems)

In January 2010, New Jersey met the final outstanding condition regarding the development of a process for inspection of on-site sewage disposal systems (OSDS) at a frequency adequate to determine whether systems are failing via the readoption of the Water Quality Management Planning Rules N.J.A.C. 7:15 ( The rules prescribe water quality management policies, procedures and standards which protect public health; safeguard fish, aquatic life, and scenic and ecological values; and enhance domestic, municipal, recreational, industrial and other uses of water. The amendments to the rules include a requirement that municipalities establish a mandatory maintenance program to ensure the proper functioning of OSDS. Specifically, an approvable Wastewater Management Plan must “Demonstrate that areas to be served by individual subsurface sewage disposal systems are subject to a mandatory maintenance program, such as an ordinance, which ensures that all individual subsurface sewage disposal systems are functioning properly. This shall include requirements for periodic pump out and maintenance, as needed" (N.J.A.C. 7:15-5.25(e)3).

Additionally, the location, design, construction, installation, repair and operation of individual septic systems in New Jersey are subject to the Standards for Individual Subsurface Sewage Disposal Systems (N.J.A.C. 7:9A) pursuant to the authority of the Realty Improvement Sewerage and Facilities Act (N.J.S.A. 58:11-23). Through integrating the elements of soils, geology, and engineering, a relatively simple system of onsite wastewater disposal and renovation can effectively remove disease-causing pathogens and chemical nutrients from domestic wastewater.

Relevant NJDEP publications related to OSDS include:


New Jersey recognizes the important role of wetlands, riparian areas, and vegetated treatment systems in reducing nonpoint source pollution. Both the Freshwater Wetlands Act and the Wetlands Act of 1970 are water pollution control programs that address non point source pollution and stormwater management. The Freshwater Wetlands Protection Act requires DEP to regulate virtually all activities proposed in the wetland, including cutting of vegetation, dredging, excavation or removal of soil, drainage or disturbance of the water level, filling or discharge of any materials, driving of pilings, and placing of obstructions.

The NJDEP also encourages techniques such as watershed and regional land use planning, stream corridor protection, and land preservation. New Jersey also participates in the Wetlands Reserve Program (USDA-NRCS) which permanently helps preserve and protect wetlands in order to promote water quality and improve habitat.

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Last Updated: June 5, 2024