Apr 11, 2019

New Jersey to Update Storm Water Runoff Protocol

Sixteen environmental organizations object to storm water runoff regulatory changes in New Jersey

Sixteen environmental organizations object to storm water runoff regulatory changes in New Jersey
Sixteen environmental organizations object to storm water runoff regulatory changes in New Jersey.

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) first major regulatory proposal under the administration of New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy may need a do-over, according to The Press of Atlantic City.

When major changes to storm water runoff controls were proposed by the DEP, 16 environmental organizations made objections, according to The Press of Atlantic City. The organizations urged the DEP to take a more effective approach.

One of those groups was the Natural Resources Defense Council. The council used a public records request to gain access of all of the comments on the proposal. According to The Press of Atlantic City, among these comments was a letter from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) taking a position similar to the council and also asking fundamental changes be made to the proposal.

According to The Press of Atlantic City, rainwater runoff causes flooding and reduces water quality in streams, rivers and bays. Almost all New Jersey waterways do not meet federal clean-water standards. According to the Press, more than a third of waterways are currently degraded by storm water runoff.

FEMA is the state’s chief partner in controlling runoff. According to the Press, the agency has spent hundreds of millions improving New Jersey watersheds, and billions on storm relief. 

Some from FEMA say it is “troubling” that the proposal would not include a 2004 requirement that developers must incorporate nonstructural storm water management into their plans. According to the Press, these techniques include both native and natural landscaping as well as leaving buffer zones around streams. FEMA also recommended the state consider adding a requirement that nutrients be reduced in runoff water.

According to the Press, the DEP did get praise from FEMA and other conservation groups for the proposal’s focus on using green infrastructure to more efficiently manage storm water. 

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