Stormwater, in the form of rainfall runoff and ice and snow melt water, is a natural resource that is integral to the earth’s water cycle. In developed areas, however, excessive stormwater runoff can lead to localized flooding and water pollution in many communities.
The Pinelands Commission’s stormwater management regulations provide good protection for people, property, and the environment, but unfortunately, these rules are still not preventing runoff pollution from directly or indirectly entering our waterways, especially in areas that were developed before today’s stormwater management techniques were adopted. Water quality continues to decline in some areas, and localized flooding persists in some communities.
The NJ Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) also has statewide rules governing stormwater management. These rules have long proven inadequate to prevent flooding and protect surface and ground water quality. Recognizing the need for improvements, DEP published revised stormwater regulations that represent some steps forward and, unfortunately, some steps back.
PPA joined with many other groups to file comments on the proposed rules, which you can read here.
Every municipality has the option to go above and beyond what is required by state Department of Environmental Protection and/or Pinelands Commission regulations in order to expand, facilitate, and incentivize the use of green stormwater infrastructure to minimize pollution and better protect water supplies.
PPA has developed a model ordinance that incorporates these options into existing Pinelands Commission stormwater requirements. Towns may choose to do one or all, but at least we are all taking a step forward in addressing a problem that plagues our communities.
The following are a number of good-to-best options to provide greater stormwater management in your town’s stormwater ordinance. These options are provided in the attached model ordinance, created by Pinelands Preservation Alliance.
SECTION II B.1 Hold a pre-plan meeting – Require a developer’s engineer to meet with town’s engineer prior to the development of final site plan designs and before submission to the town’s pre-application process. This should be a strategy session to review opportunities to maximize the use of environmentally friendly stormwater management techniques and to incorporate green stormwater infrastructure or the use of non-structural techniques in every development project.
SECTION IX Train Planning Board members – Provide the Planning Board with the knowledge and tools they need to understand what makes for a really good stormwater management plan. It will help the town address stormwater issues and will empower the planning board members when participating in the process.
SECTION IV A.6 Apply stormwater management requirements even to minor development – This is not required today, but it is important that sites of less than one acre improve and manage stormwater as we get closer to build out of our communities. The cumulative impact of multiple minor development projects can exceed the impact of major development projects.
SECTION IV A.1 Insist on non-structural stormwater management techniques – Planning at the beginning of a project is absolutely critical to achieve effective stormwater management by reducing the sources of runoff. Non-structural techniques provide this solution and low-impact/green stormwater infrastructure is both esthetically pleasing and economical when incorporated early on in the project design.
SECTION IV E.3 Reduce nutrient load to surface and groundwater supplies by 90% for sites with over 2 acres of disturbance – Our waterways are receiving too much nutrient pollution (nitrogen and phosphorus, primarily from fertilizer and animal waste), which means the waterways are also receiving an excess of other pollutants as well. Reducing turf, utilizing non-structural techniques and green stormwater infrastructure makes this goal easy to achieve.
Any questions about the ordinance or other opportunities for green stormwater infrastructure contact Jaclyn Rhoads at 609-859-8860 ext 118 or [email protected]