N.J. Rule to Push Treated Wastewater Reclamation

The Department of Environmental Protection has proposed new rules to encourage more reclamation of treated wastewater for a variety of uses such as irrigation of lawns, parks, and athletic fields, as well as in industrial processes, Commissioner Lisa P. Jackson announced March 20.
"Once again, New Jersey is at the forefront of using innovative thinking to tackle environmental challenges," Commissioner Jackson said. "This proposal sets the bar for treatment of reclaimed wastewater very high and encourages wastewater facilities in areas of the state with stressed water supplies to examine the feasibility of implementing strategies to reclaim wastewater."

These initiatives are included as amendments made to the proposed re-adoption of the New Jersey Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NJPDES) rule.

The amendments set high treatment standards for reclaimed water. They require wastewater facilities that discharge into coastal waterbodies or those that are located in Critical Water Supply Areas to study the feasibility of using reclaimed water as a condition of NJPDES permits. These areas stand to benefit most from wastewater reclamation because of stressed water supplies.

 "The implementation of any beneficial reuse program will not necessarily enable wastewater facilities to expand sewer service areas or increase treatment capacity," said Nancy Wittenberg, DEP's assistant commissioner for environmental regulation. "At the same time, wastewater reclamation can help water utilities that face allocation constraints because of stressed supplies meet growing demand for water."

The DEP will exempt facilities from the feasibility study requirement in cases where reductions in discharges of treated wastewater would have adverse effects on water resources. Wastewater treatment facilities that produce an average of less than 100,000 gallons per day will also be exempt.

The public comment for the NJDPES rule proposal ends May 16. To view the rule proposal, go to: http://www.nj.gov/dep/rules/notices.html

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