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Division of Land Use Regulation
State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection

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Outfalls and Intakes

  • Overview
  • Freshwater Wetlands
  • Flood Hazard
  • Coastal
  • Tidelands

Outfalls and intakes are structures utilized for transferring water during storm events into a subsurface drainage system and/or stormwater basin. In doing so, outfalls aid in decreasing and/or minimizing the likelihood of flooding.  It is important that outfalls be constructed correctly in order to ensure stability of the drainage system and to minimize erosion at the point of discharge.

Outfall and/or intake construction, repair, and/or reconstruction may result in impacts to “special areas” that are regulated by the Department and may require multiple permits from the Division of Land Use Regulation prior to site preparation or construction. The presence or absence of special areas can be rudimentarily determined using the Department’s online mapping service, NJ-GeoWeb.  Special areas within your project site may also affect the type of authorization required.  Therefore, it is important to closely examine a proposed activity relative to the sensitive areas which may be impacted. 

The above tabs provide additional information on permit requirements relating to outfalls and intakes.   For impacts to streams, rivers, lakes, ponds, flood plains, flood ways, riparian zones, please see the "Flood Hazard" tab. For impacts to special coastal areas, please see the "Coastal" tab. For impacts to Freshwater Wetlands, see the "Freshwater Wetlands" tab.  Information on Tidelands can be found by selecting the "Tidelands" tab.

The construction of a Stormwater Outfall or Water Intake within freshwater wetlands, transition areas, and/or State open waters requires a Freshwater Wetlands (FWW) permit, specifically, a General Permit (GP) 11 for Outfalls and intake structures. The preceeding link will take you directly to additional information on this specific GP, and the criteria necessary for approval.

General permit 11 does not authorize the construction or placement of a detention or retention facility in freshwater wetlands, transition areas, or State open waters.

If an application for a Stormwater Outfall or Water Intake cannot comply with the criteria for a GP-11, the applicant would need to apply for an Individual Permit (IP). An IP application would need to include a description as to why the project cannot be minimized to satisfy the General Permit criteria described in the link above.

An outfall structure may qualify for Permit by Rule (PBR) (a) 2 if is located in a disturbed riparian zone (or outside the riparian zone) and is at or below grade in the flood hazard area (or outside the flood hazard area).  If the above conditions cannot be met, a formal permit will be required. 

A Flood Hazard Area General Permit No. 10 applies to outfall structures, however, it requires that the outfall be along a watercourse that drains less than 50 acres and that a FWW GP #11 has already been obtained.  If those conditions cannot be met, then an Individual Permit is required.

Per the Coastal Zone Management rules at N.J.A.C. 7:7, outfalls and intakes are pipe openings that are located in water areas to intake water or discharge sewage, stormwater, and/or industrial effluents.  Construction, repair, and/or reconstruction of outfalls and intakes within coastal areas may require a permit.  The “Jurisdiction” tab of the "Coastal Areas" webpage can help you determine which areas of your site may be regulated. 

Potentially applicable exemptions:

Maintenance, replacement or repair of outfalls and intakes may qualify for an exemption per N.J.A.C. 7:7-2.2(b) or N.J.A.C. 7:7-2.2(c). As outfalls and intakes are usually constructed in conjunction with a larger private, public, residential or commercial development, they are typically reviewed in the context of that larger project.

Please contact the Division’s Technical Support Center at (609) 777-0454 should you require further assistance.

Tidelands, also known as riparian lands, are all those lands now or formerly flowed by the mean high tide of a natural waterway; that is to say any land that is currently or was previously covered by tidal waters.  The State of New Jersey, and therefore the people of New Jersey, owns all Tidelands except for those to which it has already sold its interest in the form of a riparian grant.  

The construction of outfalls and intakes that are proposed in a tidelands area may require a tidelands license if the activities are taking place at or below the mean high water line of a tidal waterway or a tidelands grant if any portion of the activities are taking place in an area that is currently landward of the mean high water line but was, at some point, flowed by the tide. It is important to note that the State generally does not own artificial waterways such as lagoons however, the State does claim those lands within a lagoon that were flowed by the mean high tide of a natural waterway which existed prior to the creation of the lagoon.

A tidelands license is a short term revocable rental document to use tidelands generally for structures such as docks, bulkhead extensions, mooring piles, and other temporary structures as well as for dredging projects. Licenses are project specific and expire after a finite term ranging from one to ten years. Most licenses may be renewed.

A riparian grant, or tidelands grant, is a deed from the State of New Jersey selling its tidelands. Tidelands grants are generally only issued for lands that have already been filled in and are no longer flowed by the tide.

For more information on tidelands instruments, please see the tidelands section of this website.

For information and instruction on how to determine whether you are in an area that may require either a license or a grant, or for information how to apply for Tideland instruments please see the "Before you Build, Before you Buy" webpage.


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Last Updated: July 6, 2015