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Land Use Management
Division of Watershed Management

Notice of Rule Proposal
Water Quality Management Planning, N.J.A.C. 7:15

Public Notice
Take notice that the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection is proposing to readopt the Water Quality Management Planning rules, N.J.A.C. 7:15, with amendments, and to repeal N.J.A.C. 7:15-5.5, N.J.A.C. 7:15-5.7, N.J.A.C. 7:15-5.9 through N.J.A.C. 7:15-5.12, N.J.A.C. 7:15-5.21 and N.J.A.C. 7:15-7.  The Department is proposing a repeal and new rules at N.J.A.C. 7:15-5.2, N.J.A.C. 7:15-5.13, N.J.A.C. 7:15-5.14, N.J.A.C. 7:15-6 and N.J.A.C. 7:15-8.  Additionally, new rule is proposed at N.J.A.C. 7:15-1.6, and 1.7, N.J.A.C. 7:15-3.10, and N.J.A.C. 7:15-5.24 through N.J.A.C. 7:15-5.26.  A statement of the proposal follows:

The Water Quality Management Planning rules, N.J.A.C. 7:15, were first adopted on October 2, 1989.  They primarily implement the New Jersey Water Quality Planning Act, N.J.S.A. 58:11A-1 et seq., whose purpose is to maintain, and where attainable, restore the chemical, physical and biological integrity of the surface and ground water resources of the State.  Accordingly, 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.  These rules also establish a grant program to assist watershed management groups in carrying out watershed management activities, pursuant to the Watershed Protection and Management Act of 1997, N.J.S.A. 58:29-1 et seq.  The Department administers the Water Quality Management Planning rules as part of the “continuing planning process” required by the Federal Clean Water Act, 33 U.S.C. §§ 1251 et seq., and the New Jersey Water Quality Planning Act.  These rules serve two basic functions.  They establish the Department’s general regulatory framework for water quality/water resource planning and supplement other Department rules pertaining to wastewater management.

The Department is proposing to amend the rules in numerous ways to, among other things, ensure better protection of water quality and improve predictability in implementation of the rules.

The amendments include reassignment of wastewater management planning responsibility to the County Boards of Chosen Freeholders; withdrawal and re-designation of wastewater service areas where the applicable wastewater management plan (WMP) is not in compliance with the mandatory update schedule contained in the rules; a requirement that municipalities pass an ordinance designed to assure septic system maintenance; and a requirement that updated WMPs address septic density in a manner that demonstrates compliance with a 2 mg/L (ppm) nitrate planning standard.

The proposed amendments also establish clear standards for delineating sewer service areas to protect environmentally sensitive areas as well as clear, environmentally protective standards for the review of WQM plan amendments.  The latter include standards to address wastewater, water supply, nonpoint source pollution (including controls related to stormwater, riparian zones and steep slopes), and habitat of threatened and endangered species.

The proposal is scheduled to be published in the New Jersey Register dated May 21, 2007.  A copy of the proposal is available from: NJDEP (PDF); LexisNexis Customer Service at (800)223-1944 or; or by contacting the Department at (609) 633-1441.  Be advised that there may be a fee for obtaining a copy of the proposal from some sources.

Public hearings concerning the proposal are scheduled as follows:

Friday, June 8, 2007 from 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm or close of testimony, whichever occurs first
Galloway Township Library
306 East Jimmie Leeds Road
Galloway, New Jersey

Monday, June 11, 2007 from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm or close of testimony, whichever occurs first
Lewis Morris County Park and Cultural Center
300 Mendham Road (County Road 510)
Morris Township, New Jersey

Friday, June 15, 2007 from1:00 pm to 5:00 pm or close of testimony, whichever occurs first
New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
Public Hearing Room, 1st floor
401 East State Street
Trenton, New Jersey

Written comments may be submitted by July 20, 2007 (comment period extended to August 20, 2007) to:

NJ Department of Environmental Protection
Gary J. Brower, Esquire
ATTN: DEP Docket Number 10-07-04/527
Office of Legal Affairs
401 East State Street, 4th Floor
PO Box 402
Trenton, New Jersey 08625

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