Liz Semple of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection's Division of Watershed Management talked about the planned changes at an April 25 meeting of the Working Group of the Central Delaware Tributaries held at the West Amwell Municipal Building.
"This is a pretty significant new program," Ms. Semple
said of the changes the DEP expects to implement later this year."This is the first time the DEP will give permits for runoff," she
described the new requirements as part of the federal Clean Water Act and said it will be implemented by the state.She
said the DEP would work with municipalities on how to implement the changes.
"It's going to be a huge thing," Ms. Semple
said.The DEP also will require Tier A municipalities to regulate a large number of stormwater management issues, including improper waste disposal, fertilizer and pesticide runoff control, illicit connections to stormwater runoff systems, pet waste, litter, lawn maintenance and municipal maintenance yard operations.
There will be a phased-in approach, according to Ms. Semple
."The towns will have to tell us what they can do when," she
said.Tier B municipalities will have to watch over new developments to manage runoff properly and make sure there is proper groundwater recharge.There will be new performance standards for groundwater recharge, according to Ms. Semple
."They will have to figure out the best way to manage runoff," Ms. Semple
said.The requirements focus on a more natural way of handling runoff, according to Ms. Semple
, rather than simply getting it off-site the quickest way possible, usually by retention basins and piping.The developers will have to meet new standards, Ms. Semple
said, and the state will provide model ordinances for the municipalities to pass to meet those standards.The new standards will change land-use requirements, she
added.Also, there will be a water recharge standard for the first time.The quantity of water will have to remain the same pre- and post-development, and erosion control will be required.The developer will have to get away from simply piping the runoff from the site into streams and rivers since increased flow degrades those streams and rivers and causes floods and pollution, according to Ms. Semple
.Developers also would need to use wetlands instead of retention basins.It's not just developers who will be affected, said Ms. Semple
."Individual homeowners will have to take more responsibility for runoff," she
said, pointing out lawns contribute greatly to runoff problems.Lawns don't absorb water for recharge, fertilizers and pesticides pollute, and lawnmowers contribute heavily to air pollution, she
added.Developers often truck away the top soil to sell in bags, she
said, and that also contributes to the problem by creating impermeable ground beneath sod laid down for lawns."It's the ecology, stupid," said one of her