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NJDEP Reclassifies 600 Miles of Rivers and Streams Across State as Category One Streams

Posted: 04/09/2020
Services: Environmental

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) recently adopted amendments to its Surface Water Quality Standards Rule, effective as of April 6, 2020, reclassifying approximately 600 miles of rivers and streams across New Jersey as Category One (C1) streams. The C1 designation affords waterways enhanced protections intended to prevent degradation in water quality from pollutants, sewage and harmful bacteria.

Commercial and industrial facilities, developers, municipalities, counties and regional treatment authorities with existing or proposed facilities that could impact these newly designated sections of rivers and streams will need to assess the rule amendment’s implications for their projects. Notably, the C1 designation requires 300-foot riparian zone buffers along re-classified waterways, pursuant to New Jersey’s Flood Hazard Area Control Act. Sewage treatment plant operations discharging waste water or other regulated discharges to the newly designated C1 waters will have to meet more stringent water-quality standards, and may need to perform system upgrades. Any existing permitted facilities discharging into these streams will likely find themselves subject to more stringent permit limitations.

The newly designated waters flow through 67 municipalities within the following basins: Atlantic Coastal; Upper Delaware River; Lower Delaware River; Passaic, Hackensack, and New York Harbor Complex;  Upper Raritan River and Raritan Bay; and Wallkill River. Property owners and developers should review the rule adoption’s list of re-classified rivers and streams to determine whether any permitting for planned projects may be impacted.

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