As DEP prepares for potential statewide impacts from Hurricane Sandy, I wanted to remind you how you can help mitigate impacts in your own town and assure you that DEP is here to assist you however we can.
First, we recommend picking up as many leaves off the ground as possible, running your street sweepers, and ensuring that storm drains are stormwater basins are clear of any debris. Please also advise your residents to pick up leaves and any other debris from their own property.
Second, if you need to remove any trees, debris or other obstructions, including shoal dredging, from streams to prepare for this storm, you can conduct those activities without contacting DEP if you follow the guidelines at http://www.nj.gov/dep/landuse/download/fh_012.pdf. If you need to do other activities that do not fit these guidelines, please call us and we will make every effort to work through any issues with you over the phone. In most cases, all we need is notification of what you are doing on an emergency basis. You can contact us about your projects or with any questions you may have by calling Nabil Andrews or Tina Wolff, DEP engineering and environmental staff dedicated to stream cleaning projects, at (609) 633-6563.
Moving forward, DEP will soon be proposing regulatory changes to make it even easier for you to maintain streams and ease any flooding in your towns, including broader Permits By Rule, automatic authorizations if the Governor or FEMA declares a State of Emergency, new General Permits and simpler Individual Permits.
We are compiling in one place on our website information and resources to help get you through the storm from a DEP perspective. I will email you again on Friday with the link to the Hurricane Sandy information that is being added to the DEP homepage at nj.gov/dep, and we will continue to add to that site any new information you might need.
As always, DEP’s emergency responders are on call 24/7 to manage any spills or discharges or other incidents that may impact the environment. Anyone who experiences or observes an incident should call the DEP hotline: 1-877-WARN-DEP.
NJ Department of Environmental Protection