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State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection

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Notice of Rule Proposal
Water Quality Management Planning rules, N.J.A.C. 7:15
New Jersey Pollutant Discharge Elimination System rules N.J.A.C. 7:14A-4.3
Highlands Water Protection and Planning Act Rules N.J.A.C. 7:38-1.1

Take notice that the NJ Department of Environmental Protection is proposing a repeal and new rules at N.J.A.C. 7:15 and amendments to N.J.A.C. 7:14A-4.3 and 7:38-1.1.  This proposed rule makes major modifications to the WQMP rules to streamline reviews, eliminate duplication of regulatory requirements between programs, and continues to implement the most comprehensive and environmentally protective water quality protection requirements in the nation.  This proposal strikes the right balance between environmental protection and the promotion of economic growth.  Specifically the proposed rules, if adopted, would:

  • Provide for comprehensive planning of water quality infrastructure to better protect the environment long term;
  • Limit where sewer systems can be located thus restricting denser development only to those areas that are not environmentally sensitive and where it is consistent with local zoning;
  • Protect ground water quality by setting goals for nitrate dilution from septic systems;
  • Be consistent with legislative intent as expressed in two legislative enactments;
  • Provide counties and other planning entities with greater flexibility in preparing their water quality plans;
  • Promote more cooperation between the Department and counties in finding solutions to water quality issues;
  • Protect threatened and endangered species habitat and natural heritage sites while providing commonsense flexibility consistent with DEP’s regulatory programs;
  • Continue to allow approvals of sewer service area amendments, so long as they are consistent with environmental standards and local planning objectives;
  • Advance greater coordination among various levels of government;
  • Defer, when possible, to the Pinelands and Highlands plans concerning planning decisions in those regions; and
  • Improve DEP’s ability to resolve capacity issues at wastewater treatment plants.

The proposal is scheduled to be published in the New Jersey Register dated October 19, 2015.  A copy of the proposal is available from:  the DEP website at ; the Office of Water Resource Management Coordination, P.O. Box 420, 401 East Sate Street, Mail Code 401-02A, Trenton, New Jersey, 08625, (609) 984-3665; and LexisNexis free public access to the New Jersey Register,

Public hearings concerning the proposal are scheduled as follows:

Date: Tuesday, November 10, 2015
Time: 1:00 P.M. to 4:00 P.M.
Location: Freylinghuysen Arboretum
Haggerty Room
353 E. Hanover Avenue
Morris Township, NJ  07962

Date: Tuesday, November 17, 2015
Time: 5:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M.
Location: Gloucester County Clayton Complex
Clayton Auditorium
1200 Delsea Drive
Clayton, NJ  08312

Date: Monday, November 30, 2015
Time: 10:00 A.M. to 1:00 P.M.
Location: New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
Public Hearing Room
401 E. State Street, 1st floor
Trenton, NJ  08625 

Written comments may be submitted electronically by December 18, 2015 at; or
In hard copy to:

Gary Brower
ATTN: DEP Docket No.10-15-09
NJ Department of Environmental Protection
Office of Legal Affairs
Mail Code 401-04L; PO Box 402
401 East State Street, 7th Floor
Trenton, NJ 08625-0402


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Last Updated: January 27, 2022