N.J. Department of Environmental Protection Awards Funds to Projects that Reduce Nonpoint Source Pollution

On April 6, 2005, Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell announced more than $3.6 million in grants to fund 11 projects designed to reduce stormwater and restore water quality throughout New Jersey.

"This progressive funding program will reduce stormwater runoff, which impairs the quality of New Jersey's waters," said Acting Gov. Richard J. Codey. "These grants are a shared cooperative effort among all levels of government to further protect New Jersey's vital water resources."

Stormwater pollution, also known as nonpoint source pollution, refers to contamination of groundwater, waterways, and oceans from runoff carrying fertilizers, pet wastes, motor oil, and litter.

"Recent flooding costs in New Jersey are estimated to be about $30 million," said Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell. "By maintaining and restoring natural buffers and managing runoff from developed sites, we can protect stream corridors and reduce the potential for flooding of the state's rivers. These grants are one more example of the partnership we've developed with communities from Lake Hopatcong to the Salem River to protect New Jersey's invaluable water resources."

The Clean Water Act established the section 319 (h) Nonpoint Source Management Program, which authorizes EPA to fund states to reduce nonpoint source pollution. This year, EPA provided New Jersey with funding of more than $3.6 million for this program.

"New Jersey is taking an important step in getting municipalities on board with programs to control stormwater runoff in the state," said Acting EPA Regional Administrator Kathy Callahan. "The $3.6 million in EPA grant funds will help the state continue to control the harmful impacts of runoff on New Jerseys' water resources."

DEP received applications for 35 projects totaling more than $6 million, almost twice the available funding. Projects were selected based on the ability to eliminate nonpoint source pollutants effectively. Projects received special consideration if they curbed pollution going to Category One (C1) waterbodies or impaired waterways including those with known pollution reductions known as Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs).

DEP has designated certain high-quality waterways as C1 waterbodies, which gives them special protection status as a drinking water source or habitat for threatened or endangered species. The TMDL program establishes pollution limits for the state's impaired waterbodies by specifying the maximum amount of a pollutant that the waterway can receive and still meet water quality standards.

The funded projects include the Upper Salem River Watershed Project. The goal of this project is to improve the water quality of the Salem River by creating a restoration plan to reduce pollution sources by 84 percent.

New Jersey's largest inland lake, Lake Hopatcong, is implementing a project that will install subsurface sand filters, which use sand, in addition to vegetative filter strips, composed of a variety of plants, to remove phosphorus from stormwater runoff entering the lake.

For further information about New Jersey's watersheds visit www.nj.gov/dep/watershedmgt.

This news item originally appeared in the May/June 2005 issue Water and Wastewater Products, Vol. 5, No. 3.

This article originally appeared in the 06/01/2005 issue of Environmental Protection.

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