Only 5 percent of NJ waterways meet federal clean water standards, largely due to runoff from developed areas

The state is proposing to overhaul one of the most contentious rules adopted by the Christie administration, but critics say it falls short in dealing with the single biggest problem impairing New Jersey’s waters — stormwater runoff.

The proposal, the first major regulation offered by the state Department of Environmental Protection under Gov. Phil Murphy, mostly amends rules involving stormwater management, an issue often blamed for increasing the risk of flooding and threatening water quality.


Henry Gajda of the League of Conservation Voters of New Jersey agreed. “Within these rules, there’s more work to be done,’’ said Gajda, noting the overhaul does not even address the projected $16 billion needed in New Jersey to fix stormwater and pollution problems.

Stormwater utilities

Gajda urged the DEP to work with lawmakers to pass legislation that would allow municipalities to set up stormwater utilities that could impose fees to address so-called “non-point pollution problems. (Non-point pollution refers to waste and other contaminants that flow into waterways from runoff and flooding, not direct discharges permitted by manufacturing plants and wastewater treatment facilities.) The legislation, approved by the Senate, is awaiting action in the Assembly.

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