NJ DEPARTMENT of ENVIRONMENTAL
WATERSHED AND LAND MANAGEMENT
STORMWATER MANAGEMENT RULES
FLOOD HAZARD AREA CONTROL ACT RULES
Notice of Proposed Amendments, Repeal and New Rule
N.J.A.C. 7:8-1.2, 1.6, 2.1, 5.4, 5.6 and 5.7; N.J.A.C 7:13-1.1, 1.2, 3.3, 3.4, 3.6, 10.1, 12.6 and Appendix 1
Take notice that the Department of Environmental Protection (Department) is proposing rule amendments to the rules governing Stormwater Management (SWM), N.J.A.C. 7:8, and the Flood Hazard Area Control Act (FHACA) Rules, N.J.A.C. 7:13. Spurred by the devastation caused by the remnants of Tropical Storm Ida, the proposed amendments and new rules would ensure that development in flood prone areas and stormwater management systems throughout the State are constructed to more protective standards that reflect projected precipitation due to a changing climate, especially as to increased precipitation events. The proposed amendments would apply to any person or entity that is proposing a regulated activity within a regulated area under the FHACA rules and any person or entity that is proposing a major development as defined by the SWM rules. The rule proposal is anticipated for publication in the December 5, 2022 New Jersey Register.
Informed by recent, peer-reviewed precipitation studies performed by Cornell University, the proposed amendments and new rules incorporate the best available, New Jersey-specific precipitation data to inform the methodologies by which construction design standards required by the FHACA and SWM rules are determined for buildings and infrastructure subject to these rules and the standards specified in the rules. The Department proposes amending N.J.A.C. 7:13-3.3, 3.4, and 3.6, as well as N.J.A.C. 7:8-5.4 and 5.6, to account for expected flood increases due to increasing rainfall severity resulting from a changing climate. N.J.A.C. 7:8-5.7 is proposed for amendment to remove the option to utilize the outdated rational and modified rational methods for calculations. N.J.A.C. 7:8 is further proposed for amendment to require groundwater recharge calculations to show that the two-year storm that is being infiltrated is based on the climate change projected (future precipitation) two-year storm.
The proposed amendments would require all entities subject to the proposed FHACA rule to account for expected flood increases in riverine areas due to increasing precipitation amounts by adding additional factors of safety to published Department and fluvial FEMA delineations. An applicant choosing to utilize a Department or FEMA promulgated map in a fluvial area would have to add an additional two-foot factor of safety to the current regulatory flood elevation. Additionally, where published mapping isn’t available, or where a prospective applicant chooses to employ consultants to calculate the design flood elevation rather than rely on mapping, increased flooding would be addressed using projected rainfall totals for the 100-year storm. The proposed amendments also require use of rainfall data updated to the present, and projected into the future, to analyze site hydrology and design stormwater management facilities. Additionally, N.J.A.C. 7:13-6.7 and 10.1 are proposed to be amended to ensure that the Department will not approve a flood hazard area permit that does not meet applicable design and construction standards established under the Federal National Flood Insurance Program or New Jersey’s Uniform Construction Code at N.J.A.C. 5:23. Finally, proposed new language at N.J.A.C. 7:13-12.6 addresses limited cases where a public transportation entity proposes railroad or public roadway improvements that have reached certain milestones in its development.
The rule proposal is anticipated to be published in the December 5, 2022 New Jersey Register. A copy of the proposal is available from the Department at http://www.nj.gov/dep/rules/proposals/proposal-20221205b.pdf; official repository libraries; and LexisNexis free public access to the New Jersey Register, www.lexisnexis.com/njoal.
The Department will hold a public hearing on Wednesday, January 11, 2023, at 1:00 P.M. The hearing will be conducted virtually through the Department’s video conferencing software, Microsoft Teams. The hearing will remain open until all testimony has been heard and will be recorded.
A link to the virtual public hearing will be provided on the Department’s Division of Land Resource Protection’s website (https://www.nj.gov/dep/landuse/news.html).
If you are interested in providing oral testimony at the virtual public hearing, please email the Department at email@example.com no later than 5:00 P.M. Monday, January 9, 2023, with your contact information (name, organization, telephone number, and email address). Please note that the Department will take oral testimony at the hearing by alphabetical order of the testifying person’s last name.
Written comments will be accepted through February 3, 2022. The Department encourages electronic submittal of comments at www.nj.gov/dep/rules/comments. Alternatively, comments may be submitted in hard copy to:
Lauren Zarrillo, Esq.
ATTN: DEP Docket No. 08-22-10
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