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Water Monitoring and Standards

Notice of Rule Proposal
Ground Water Quality Standards; Antidegradation policy N.J.A.C. 7:9C

Public Notice
Take notice that the NJ Department of Environmental Protection is proposing to amend N.J.A.C. 7:9C-1.4 and to repeal and replace N.J.A.C. 7:9C-1.8 of the Ground Water Quality Standards at N.J.A.C. 7:9C. A statement of the substance of the proposal follows: The proposed new rule would delete the antidegradation limits established at existing N.J.A.C. 7:9C-1.8(b) through (e) and replace them with new implementation procedures at proposed N.J.A.C. 7:9C-1.8(b)1 through 5, which would establish the water quality conditions to be maintained that correspond with the different ground water classifications and their designated uses. The proposed rule would prohibit any new or expanded discharge to ground water in the Highlands Preservation Area that is not in conformance with the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Act Rules at N.J.A.C. 7:38. In addition, the new antidegradation policy would apply equally to Class II and Class III ground water, in order to protect existing ground water quality from significant degradation. 

This rule is proposed as a companion to the recently proposed Water Quality Management Planning (WQMP) rule (N.J.A.C. 7:15). By amending the WQMP rule in conjunction with the GWQS rule, the Department is extending its antidegradation policy beyond NJPDES-permitted facilities. For discharges to ground water from domestic treatment works, evaluation of compliance with the proposed antidegradation policy would be conducted at two scales. A regional evaluation would be conducted through the WQMP process, as currently proposed. Evaluation on a regional scale would allow for consideration of secondary and cumulative impacts on a watershed (i.e., HUC 11) basis, such as from a large-scale development. Placement of the proposed domestic treatment works would not be addressed in the regional evaluation. Therefore, once the regional evaluation has been completed, a site-specific evaluation would also be required, through the NJPDES discharge to ground water permitting process pursuant to existing N.J.A.C. 7:14A, to demonstrate that the permitted discharge would maintain existing ground water quality that is better than criteria.

The Department is proposing to use nitrate as a surrogate for the constituents in domestic wastewater, and has determined that 2 mg/L nitrate is representative of existing ground water quality Statewide, for the purpose of evaluating compliance with the proposed antidegradation policy at N.J.A.C. 7:9C-1.8(a) for new and expanded domestic treatment works that discharge to Class II and Class III ground water.

The proposal is scheduled to be published in the New Jersey Register July 2, 2007. A copy of the proposal (PDF) is available from the Department’s Web site at:

Public hearings concerning the proposal are scheduled as follows:

Wednesday, August 8, 2007 at 1:00-5:00 P.M.
Department of Environmental Protection
401 East State Street
Public Hearing Room, First Floor
Trenton, New Jersey 08625

Written comments may be submitted by August 31, 2007 to:

NJ Department of Environmental Protection
Janis Hoagland, Esquire
ATTN: 13-07-06/89
Office of Legal Affairs
PO Box 402
Trenton, New Jersey 08625

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