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William G. Dressel Jr, Executive Director - Michael J. Darcey, CAE, Asst Executive Director

Stormwater Management
How to Satisfy the New Requirements

Lewis Goldshore

Photo - Municipalities must manage stormwater runoff.
Municipalities must carefully comply with the new stormwater regulations. The DEP has demonstrated that it will impose significant monetary penalties on municipalities that fail to conform to pollution control requirements, including those of a technical or a paperwork nature.

On February 2, 2004, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP adopted its municipal stormwater regulation program (MSRP) to address water quality degradation associated with nonpoint sources of pollution. The program is described in considerable detail on the DEP’s website,

The MSRP assigned the state’s municipalities to either Tier A or Tier B. As the program is implemented, the importance of this distinction will become more apparent. Municipalities in Tier A will have to comply with
substantially more onerous and costly requirements than the 100 or so,
principally rural, Tier B municipalities.

In 2004, the DEP’s stormwater program required every municipality to complete a simple Request for Authorization (RFA) to qualify for a Tier A or Tier B municipal stormwater general permit. With only a few exceptions, this process was completed by April 1, 2004, a date referred to by the DEP as the effective date of permit authorization (EDPA). That date is significant as it will be used to determine compliance with the next phases of the stormwater program.

Statewide Basic Requirements (SBRs) The MSRP is implemented
by obligating Tier A municipalities to comply with seven categories of statewide basic requirements (SBRs). The SBRs include the preparation of a stormwater pollution prevention plan (SPPP); initiation of post-construction stormwater management in new development and redevelopment; local public education; improper disposal of waste controls; solid and floatable controls; upgrading maintenance yard operations and employee training. Tier B municipalities will have a much easier time complying as they are only subject to the post-construction stormwater management and local public education SBRs.

DEP’s website includes matrices that identify each of category of SBRs, describe the minimum standards for satisfying them and indicate the implementation schedule. The website also includes a guidance document, a sample SPPP, model ordinances and various program forms. www.njstormwater.org/tier_A/forms.htm.

12 Months From EDPA - April 1, 2005 Compliance Date By April 1, 2005, municipalities are required to comply with the following SBRs:

  • SPPP – the plan describes the municipality’s stormwater program and describes how the SBRs will be implemented;
  • Post-Construction Stormwater Management in New Development and Redevelopment [applies in both Tier A and B municipalities] – a stormwater management plan (SWP) [a sample plan is provided on the DEP’s website] must be adopted; and new storm drain inlets must conform with the DEP’s design standards;
  • Local Public Education [applies in both Tier A and B municipalities] – a DEP educational brochure must be copied and provided annually to residents and businesses; and municipalities must conduct a
    yearly education “event;”
  • Solids and Floatable Controls – in predominantly commercial areas, municipalities must conduct monthly sweeping of curbed streets, roads and highways (with a speed limit of 35 mph), weather and street surface conditions permitting; when roads are repaired, reconstructed, altered or repaved, the storm drain inlets must be retrofitted with inlets meeting DEP specified design standards; and to ensure that municipally operated stormwater facilities function and operate properly a stormwater facility maintenance program must be developed and implemented that includes yearly catch basin cleaning;
  • Maintenance Yard Operations – on an interim basis, municipalities must provide for seasonal tarping of de-icing material; uncovered sand storage may be stored outside if a 50’ setback is maintained from any storm sewer inlet; Standard Operating Procedures for vehicle fueling and bulk delivery must be developed and implemented in accordance with DEP required practices; vehicle maintenance practices must be implemented as per DEP standards; and good housekeeping practices must be implemented; and
  • Employee Training – an employee training program for appropriate employees must be developed and implemented that covers the required topics contained in the permit.

18 Months from EDPA – October 1, 2005 Compliance Date By October 1, 2005, Tier A municipalities are required to comply with the following additional SBRs:

  • Improper Disposal of Waste – adopt and enforce ordinances concerning: pet waste, litter, improper waste disposal, wildlife feeding, and illicit connections to storm sewers. Develop, implement and enforce a program to detect and eliminate illicit connections; and
  • Solids and Floatable Controls —develop a roadside erosion control maintenance program to identify and stabilize roadside erosion and make repairs in accordance with applicable soil erosion and sediment control standards; and develop and implement a stormwater outfall pipe scouring detection, remediation and maintenance program to identify and stabilize localized stream and stream bank scouring in the vicinity of municipal outfall pipes.

Complexity and Cost of Compliance Prior to MSRP’s adoption, the State League of Municipalities expressed concerns as to the program’s complexity and the compliance costs. Based on those efforts, some concessions were made.

Kevin Becica, P.E., of Environmental Resolutions, Inc., who assisted the League in the pre-adoption negotiations with the DEP, noted that there are a number of techniques to reduce the program’s complexity:

The main focus of the 2004/2005 effort at the municipal level has been to break down the regulations into understandable segments for each municipal department. Creating visual presentations of the requirements such as Flow Charts, Street Sweeping Maps and Storm Outfall Maps has been most helpful in communicating the requirements. For example, the street sweeping regulations become less onerous once a map is created showing that street sweeping is only required in certain portions of the municipality.

While the complexity factor can be addressed, the cost factor is more challenging, particularly to financially strapped local governments. One municipality’s compliance costs have been reviewed by L. Mason Neely, the Chief Financial Officer of East Brunswick Township, and an advisor to the League on stormwater management issues. East Brunswick is a suburban municipality comprising 21.95 square miles and has a population of 46,756.

Mr. Neely has estimated that the stormwater permit will require his town to purchase a street sweeper ($120,000), hire an operator ($54,000 annually) and pay a DEP permit fee (+$10,000). Over the five year life of the permit, it is expected that East Brunswick will spend $366,000 in permit compliance costs principally for the control of solid and floatable materials ($249,000), upgrading maintenance yards and service areas ($45,000) and prohibiting improper disposal of waste ($40,000).

The need for municipalities to assure that they comply with the stormwater regulations cannot be emphasized too strongly. The DEP has demonstrated that it will impose significant monetary penalties on municipalities that fail to conform with pollution control requirements, including those of a technical or a paperwork nature.

Lewis Goldshore is partner at Goldshore, Cash & Kalac in Lawrence- ville. His practice is concentrated in the areas of environmental law, land use law and municipal law. Mr. Goldshore is Environmental Counsel to the New Jersey State League of Municipalities

Article from New Jersey Municipalities, Volume 82, Number 3, March 2005


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