Dec 11, 2019

New Jersey’s DEP Signs Controversial Storm Water Runoff Rule

New Jersey’s DEP signed a new rule to control storm water runoff. 

rainy mood

New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) signed a new rule that aims to control storm water runoff. 

The proposal has received backlash from most of the state’s most prominent environmental groups as well as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). 

The DEP did not make the details of the regulation available, so it is unclear what, if any, changes were made from the original proposal, according to the NJ Spotlight. It is not clear when the full rule will be made available. 

Both FEMA and conservationists are skeptical of the proposal’s elimination of non-structural storm water management techniques, such as buffer zones around streams and green roofs, to control runoff. The new rule was criticized for not going far enough in protecting state waterways, reported the NJ Spotlight

“Moving to green infrastructure is a step forward, but it doesn’t address the underlying standards so it won’t reduce the volume and amount of storm water runoff,’’ said Michael Pisauro, policy director of the Watershed Institute.

The aspects obtaining praise from conservationists are provisions focusing on green infrastructure to better manage storm water, however. 

“This change represents an important paradigm shift as the previous rules were not working, and we saw pollution and flooding from storm water runoff getting worse,’’ said Louise Wilson, director of green infrastructure for New Jersey Future.

The agency has initiated a second phase of stakeholder meetings to address gaps in the new rule.

“Instead of using these rules to clean up our water, we are going backwards when it comes to handling our storm water,’’ said Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club.

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