Wednesday, March 2, 2016

NJ's Water Quality Report Card

Ever wonder what you’re swimming in? The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) 2014 Integrated Report (IR) was released on February 1, 2016. This report analyzes thousands of water samples collected from 2008 to 2012 by local, county, and state entities and assembles these results into a report on the water quality in NJ. It includes the infamous “303(d) list”: waters that do not meet the designated water quality standards and are “impaired”, meaning they are polluted.

The results of the 2014 Integrated Report are not positive for water quality in NJ: only 14 of the 958 Assessment Units in the state meet all designated uses (such as supporting aquatic life, recreation in or on the water, shellfishing, drinking water, irrigation for agriculture, etc.). This means that over 98% of the waters in the State fail to fully meet water quality standards.

While much more analysis of the report needs to be done, there are numerous red flags beyond these troubling results. COA will review and comment on the report, and urge action to improve waterways.

Comments on the 2014 IR are due March 1, giving the public a mere 30 days to review several hundred pages of important information. COA and several other environmental groups have requested that NJDEP extend this timeframe to allow for meaningful review and public comment.

Below is an important link to review; see if any waterbodies in your area have been newly listed or still impaired even after past listings. Let us know if a waterbody in your area has been newly added to the 303(d) list.

Ø  The 2014 Integrated Report: Scroll down to the list of additional links to find the list of waters that do not meet a designated use (draft integrated list sublists 1-5) and the list of newly changed listings (draft changes in designated use assessment results)

Ø  COA recommends that every interested citizen find their Watershed Management Area number:

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