Monday, in a marathon New Jersey Senate Session, the much-postponed final vote to pass S1856 - authorizing the Ocean County Planning Board and municipal planning boards in Ocean County to create stormwater runoff and nonpoint source pollution control agencies for the Barnegat Bay watershed – happened.
The bill, sponsored by environmental leaders Senator Bob Smith and Assemblymen John McKeon and Peter Barnes, III, does not create a stormwater and nonpoint source pollution agency or plan, it simply allows Ocean County governments to create them if they so choose. If the Ocean County Planning Board (with the help and input of relevant municipalities) chooses to make a plan to address these pollution problems, the plan must…
be designed to reduce siltation and stormwater runoff into Barnegat Bay,
- identify cost-effective measures for controlling pollution sources,
- have as a stated goal the improvement of the quality of runoff water into the Barnegat Bay,
- identify all runoff structures (from culverts to stormwater basins) and assess the structures to see whether they are still functional or are in need of repair,
- determine if any new runoff structures are needed, and
- develop a fee-based system for new developments and an incentive system for existing developments to promote and encourage positive stormwater management planning.
Municipalities within Ocean County can also, under this law, make their own local stormwater/runoff/nonpoint source pollution plans that follow the same guidelines as those listed above.
This bill was one of the original “Four for the Shore” that Clean Ocean Action championed last year, and it was first talked about in public at the August, 2010 Joint Hearing of the Senate and Assembly environment, energy, and solid waste committees.