Stormwater, in the form of rainfall-runoff and ice and snow meltwater, 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 groundwater quality. Recognizing the need for improvements, DEP published revised stormwater regulations that represent some steps forward and, unfortunately, some steps back.
Effective March 2, 2021, New Jersey now requires all new public and private developments to incorporate the use of green infrastructure as a stormwater management technique in order to combat further pollution of New Jersey’s waterways. Instead of using pipes and other “grey infrastructure”, the new rule now requires green techniques such as rain gardens and other permeable surfaces to be employed in order to match more closely with the natural water cycle. Instead of using subjective measuring terms, there are objective markers that all new developments must hit and green infrastructure must be spread across a project site, maximizing effectiveness and reducing pollution in local waterways.
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.
Any questions about the ordinance or other opportunities for green stormwater infrastructure contact Jaclyn Rhoads at 609-859-8860 ext 118 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The South Jersey Landscape Makeover Program
The South Jersey Landscape Makeover Program provides homeowners, municipalities, and farmers with expert advice and financial assistance to create rain gardens and other “green infrastructure” projects that capture polluted stormwater and prevent it from entering our lakes, rivers, and bays.
For More Information go to the South Jersey Water Savers Website.