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Clean Watersheds Needs Survey (CWNS)NJ Clean Watersheds Needs Survey

Clean Watersheds Needs Survey (CWNS) is the survey conducted by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) in partnership with states to identify and document the cost of the capital needs required to meet the water quality and water-related public health goals of the Clean Water Act. The CWNS is conducted in response to Sections 205(a) of the Clean Water Act and 516(b) of the Water Quality Act of 1987, which amended the Clean Water Act.

Every four years, New Jersey State participates in CWNS and collects the information about:

  • Publicly owned wastewater collection and treatment facilities;
  • Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs) control facilities;
  • Stormwater management activities;
  • Nonpoint source (NPS) pollution control projects; and
  • Decentralized wastewater treatment facilities.

Information collected about these facilities and projects includes:

  • Estimated needs to address water quality or water quality related public health problems;
  • Costs and technical information;
  • Location and contact information;
  • Facility populations served, flow, effluent, and unit process information; and
  • NPS best management practices (BMPs).

The result of this survey is published in a Report to Congress and can significantly impact the amount of money that the state receives for CWSRF purposes. The Report provides Congress, as well as state legislatures, with information to assist their budgeting efforts. The data are also used to:

  • Help measure environmental progress
  • Contribute to academic research
  • Provide information to the public
  • Help local and state governments implement water quality programs


What is Need? - In CWNS, a need defined as a project, with associated costs, that addresses a water quality or public health problem existing as of January 1, 2012 or expected to occur within the next 20 years (by December 31, 2031). In order to be included in CWNS 2012, the facility/project must:

  1. Have a capital need in one of the CWNS needs categories (153 kb, pdf)
  2. Meet the seven CWNS documentation requirements as explained below.
  3. Not be funded as of January 1, 2012. A facility/project is no longer considered a need when money is committed to the project (e.g. signed commitment notice, vote to issue bond; taxes allocated), even if construction has not yet begun. The portion of the facility/project not funded as of January 1, 2012 is eligible.

What type of facility/project is included in the CWNS? - CWNS data is organized by facility/project where the term "facility" is used when the needs are for wastewater treatment, animal feeding operations, mining (point source), stormwater management activities, decentralized wastewater treatment, etc., and the term "project" is used to describe NPS pollution control activities. Click here (91 kb, pdf) to view the detailed information on type of facility/project included in the CWNS 2012.

The CWNS data is submitted to EPA via CWNS data entry portal (DEP). If you would like to enter your facility/project data yourself and need an access to the data entry portal, please contact Ketan Patel, New Jersey CWNS Coordinator at (609) 292-3114.

Documentation Requirements: To be eligible for CWNS 2012, each facility and project must provide the following seven elements of information:

  1. A description of the current or potential water quality impairment and information on its potential source. The problem description should include specific pollutant source information and/or specific threats to the waterbody. A general statement about water quality impairment or threat does not meet this criterion.
  2. The location of the problem must be identified as a single latitude/longitude point, a polygon, or a county, watershed or town. (See Chapter 7 for detailed location requirements.)
  3. The solution to the problem. One or more specific pollution control measure(s) or best management practices (BMPs) to address the identified problem or threat.
  4. The cost for each solution. The cost to implement each pollution control measure or specified BMP must be provided. General estimates for the problem area are not permitted; only site-specific data is acceptable to generate costs.
  5. The source of the cost. (e.g., engineer's estimates, costs from comparable practices, estimates from equipment suppliers) for each solution must be identified.
  6. The total cost. The total cost of all pollution control measures and BMPs documented for the facility or project must be provided.
  7. Current documentation. For needs greater than $30 million (January 2012 dollar base), the documentation date has to be January 1, 2006, or more current. For all other needs, the documentation date has to be January 1, 2002, or more current.

CWNS Documentations & Resources:

CWNS 2016:

USEPA had postponed the CWNS 2016 and the future CWNS until further announcement.

CWNS 2012:
CWNS is a collaborative effort among the States, the District of Columbia, U.S. Territories (collectively referred to as “States”), and EPA. The State data collection procedures follows a set of guidelines and criteria for gathering, documenting and entering data. The CWNS 2012 official data collection period began from November 2009 and ended in December 2011. CWNS 2012 Report include the unfunded capital costs of treatment works projects that Address a water quality or a water quality-related public health problem existing as of January 1, 2012, or expected to occur within the next 20 years for POTWs; and meet the CWNS documentation criteria.

CWNS 2008:
In CWNS 2008 New Jersey State reported the total wastewater and stormwater management needs of $32.5 billion as of January 1, 2008 in the CWNS 2008 Report to Congress. This amount includes $8.7 billion for wastewater treatment plants, pipe repairs, and buying and installing new pipes; $8.2 billion for combined sewer overflow correction; and $15.6 billion for stormwater management. Small communities (population < 10,0000) have documented needs of $2.6 billion. In addition to the $32.5 billion in wastewater and stormwater needs, New Jersey reported other documented needs for nonpoint source pollution prevention ($1.8 billion) and decentralized wastewater (septic) systems ($2.2 billion) are included in Appendix A of the report.

CWNS 2004: 
In CWNS 2004 New Jersey documented needs totaling $13.1 billion as of January 1, 2004. This amount includes $916.5 millions for wastewater treatment and collection systems, $396.8 million for combined sewer overflow corrections, $5.5 billion for stormwater management and urban runoff control, $4.2 billion for nonpoint source pollution prevention and $125 million for decentralized wastewater (septic) systems.

Program Contact: Ketan Patel, New Jersey CWNS Coordinator, (609) 292-3114



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