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  Bureau of Environmental Analysis, Restoration and Standards
Ground Water Quality Standards (GWQS)
N.J.A.C. 7:9C
"Protecting, Maintaining, and Restoring New Jersey Ground Waters"

New Jersey’s Ground Water Quality Standards are rules established under the New Jersey Administrative Code at N.J.A.C. 7:9C that include the ground water classifications, ground water quality criteria, constituent standards, and policies necessary to protect the quality of New Jersey’s ground waters and their designated uses. Click on the Fact Sheet or the bars below to learn more about the GWQS.

GWQS Fact Sheet

What are the GWQS?

The GWQS establish classes of ground water according to the hydrogeologic characteristics of the ground water resource and the designated use(s) to be maintained, restored and enhanced within each classification area. Designated uses include maintenance of special ecological resources, provision of and conversion to potable water (drinking water), agricultural and industrial water supply, and other reasonable uses. Click on the Ground Water Classifications bar to learn more.

The GWQS also establish the water quality criteria and antidegradation policies applicable to each ground water classification and designed to ensure that the designated uses can be adequately protected. The GWQS are not self-executing. They are implemented primarily through the New Jersey Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NJPDES) discharge to ground water permit program and the Site Remediation Program. The actual ground water classification, criteria, and GWQS that apply to a proposed activity (e.g., new/expanded discharge to ground water or remediation of a contaminated site) are determined on a case-by-case, site-specific basis pursuant to the applicable regulatory program.

Click on the bars below to learn more about the GWQS or the FAQs link for answers to general questions about implementation of the GWQS. Specific questions concerning the application of the GWQS to a particular NJPDES permit or contaminated site should be directed to the permit writer or case manager assigned to the site.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) 


Ground Water Classifications

The GWQS rules establish three major classes of ground water: Class I Ground Water of Special Ecological Significance, Class II Ground Water for Potable Water Supply, and Class III Ground Water with Uses Other Than Potable Water Supply. The GWQS rules establish the ground water quality criteria that are applicable to the different classes of ground water.

  • Class I Ground Water of Special Ecological Significance: Class I includes ground water within watersheds of FW1 surface waters, State-owned Natural Areas, and the major aquifers of the Pinelands Area. The primary designated use for Class I ground water is the maintenance of special ecological resources. Secondary uses include potable, agricultural and industrial water. All Class I ground waters are "nondegradation" waters. The Class I ground water quality criterion is "natural quality" in Class I-A and Class I-PL (Pinelands Preservation Area) ground waters, and "background water quality" for Class I-PL (Pinelands Protection Area) ground water. These terms are defined at N.J.A.C. 7:9C-1.4.

  • Class II Ground Water for Potable Water Supply: Class II ground water includes all areas not designated as Class I or Class III. The primary designated use for Class II ground water is provision of potable ground waters with conventional treatment at current water quality (Class II-A) or after enhancement or restoration of regional water quality (Class II-B). The ground water quality criteria for all Class II ground waters are health-based concentrations of constituents above which would pose an unacceptable risk for human consumption as drinking water. Click on the bar below for tables showing the current ground water quality criteria, PQLs and constituent standards for Class II ground water.

  • Class III Ground Water With Uses Other Than Water Supply: Class III ground waters are not suitable for potable supplies due to natural hydrogeologic characteristics or natural water quality. The primary use of Class III-A ground water is release or transmittal to adjacent ground or surface waters, Class III-B ground water are designated for any reasonable use at existing water quality, other than potable water. The GWQS rules establish narrative descriptions of these classifications and their corresponding criteria, which are determined by the Department on site-specific, case-by-case basis.

Maps are available in the Appendix of the GWQS rules that identify the geographic boundaries of Class I-PL, Class III-A and Class III-B ground water. These maps are in the process of being digitized as future coverages for New Jersey's Geographic Information System.


Ground Water Quality Criteria, PQLs and Constituent Standards
for Class II Ground Water

The numeric ground water quality standard for a constituent in Class II ground waters (the (constituent standard) is the higher of the health-based ground water quality criterion or the corresponding PQL listed in Appendix Table 1 of the GWQS rules. The PQL represents the lowest concentration of a constituent that can be reliably achieved among laboratories within specified limits of precision and accuracy during routine laboratory operating conditions (i.e., the lowest quantifiable concentration). The ground water quality standard for a constituent not found on this table is the interim generic criterion listed in Appendix Table II (based on carcinogenicity). The tables below are provided as a courtesy. Please refer to the official version of the GWQS rules for the most accurate information about the ground water quality criteria, PQLs and constituent standards currently in effect. Instructions on obtaining official versions of Department rules are available on the Department's website.

New or revised ground water quality criteria, practical quantitation levels (PQLs), and ground water quality standards (constituent standards) are established through rulemaking or, under certain circumstances, through a Notice of Administrative Change to the rules, pursuant to N.J.A.C. 7:9C-1.7(c)5. Click on the "Current GWQS rules" bar to learn more.

Constituent

CASRN

Ground Water
Quality
Criterion

Practical
Quantitation
Level (PQL)

Constituent Standard = Higher of PQL or
Ground Water Quality
Criterion

Acenaphthene

83-32-9

400

10

400

Acetone

67-64-1

6,000

10

6,000

Acetophenone

98-86-2

700

10

700

Acrolein

107-02-8

4

5

5

Acrylamide

79-06-1

0.008

0.2

0.2

Acrylonitrile

107-13-1

0.06

2

2

Adipates (Di(2-ethylhexyl)adipate) (DEHA)

103-23-1

30

3

30

Alachlor

15972-60-8

0.4

0.1

0.4

Aldicarb sulfone

1646-88-4

7

0.3

7

Aldrin

309-00-2

0.002

0.04

0.04

Aluminum

7429-90-5

200

30

200

Ammonia (Total)

7664-41-7

3,000

200

3,000

Aniline

62-53-3

6

2

6

Anthracene

120-12-7

2,000

10

2,000

Antimony (Total)

7440-36-0

6

3

6

Arsenic (Total)

7440-38-2

0.02

3

3

Asbestos

1332-21-4

7X106f/L>10µma

106f/L>10µma

7X106f/L>10µma

Atrazine

1912-24-9

3

0.1

3

Barium

7440-39-3

6,000

200

6,000

Benz(a)anthracene

56-55-3

0.05

0.1

0.1

Benzene

71-43-2

0.2

1

1

Benzidine

92-87-5

0.0002

20

20

Benzo(a)pyrene (BaP)

50-32-8

0.005

0.1

0.1

Benzo(b)fluoranthene (3,4-Benzofluoranthene)

205-99-2

0.05

0.2

0.2

Benzo(k)fluoranthene

207-08-9

0.5

0.3

0.5

Benzoic acid

65-85-0

30,000

50

30,000

Benzyl alcohol

100-51-6

2,000

20

2,000

Beryllium

7440-41-7

1

1

1

alpha-BHC- (alpha-HCH)

319-84-6

0.006

0.02

0.02

beta-BHC (beta-HCH)

319-85-7

0.02

0.04

0.04

gamma-BHC (gamma-HCH/Lindane)

58-89-9

0.03

0.02

0.03

1,1-Biphenyl

92-52-4

400

10

400

Bis(2-chloroethyl) ether

111-44-4

0.03

7

7

Bis(2-chloroisopropyl) ether

108-60-1

300

10

300

Bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP)

117-81-7

2

3

3

Bromodichloromethane (Dichlorobromomethane)

75-27-4

0.6

1

1

Bromoform

75-25-2

4

0.8

4

n-Butanol (n-Butyl alcohol)

71-36-3

700

20

700

tertiary-Butyl alcohol (TBA)

75-65-0

100

2

100

Butylbenzyl phthalate

85-68-7

100

1

100

Cadmium

7440-43-9

4

0.5

4

Camphor

76-22-2

1,000

0.5

1,000

Caprolactam

105-60-2

4,000

60

4,000

Carbofuran

1563-66-2

40

0.5

40

Carbon disulfide

75-15-0

700

1

700

Carbon tetrachloride

56-23-5

0.4

1

1

Chlordane

57-74-9

0.01

0.5

0.5

Chloride

16887-00-6

250,000

2,000

250,000

4-Chloroaniline (p-Chloroaniline)

106-47-8

30

10

30

Chlorobenzene (Monochlorobenzene)

108-90-7

50

1

50

1-Chloro-1,1-difluoroethane

75-68-3

100,000

500

100,000

Chloroform

67-66-3

70

1

70

2-Chloronaphthalene

91-58-7

600

10

600

2-Chlorophenol

95-57-8

40

20

40

Chlorpyrifos

2921-88-2

20

0.1

20

Chromium (Total)

7440-47-3

70

1

70

Chrysene

218-01-9

5

0.2

5

Cobalt

7440-48-4

100

0.5

100

Color 

NA

10 CU

5 CU

10 CU

Copper

7440-50-8

1,300

4

1,300

Cresols (mixed isomers)

95-48-7
108-39-4
106-44-5

50

0.1

50

Cumene (Isopropyl benzene)

98-82-8

700

1

700

Cyanide (free Cyanide)

57-12-5

100

6

100

2,4-D  (2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid)

94-75-7

70

2

70

Dalapon (2,2-Dichloropropionic acid)

75-99-0

200

0.1

200

4,4'-DDD (p,p'-TDE)

72-54-8

0.1

0.02

0.1

4,4'-DDE

72-55-9

0.1

0.01

0.1

4,4'-DDT

50-29-3

0.1

0.1

0.1

Demeton

8065-48-3

0.3

1

1

Dibenz(a,h)anthracene

53-70-3

0.005

0.3

0.3

Dibromochloromethane (Chlorodibromomethane)

124-48-1

0.4

1

1

1,2-Dibromo-3-chloropropane (DBCP)

96-12-8

0.02

0.02

0.02

Di-n-butyl phthalate

84-74-2

700

1

700

1,2-Dichlorobenzene (ortho)

95-50-1

600

5

600

1,3-Dichlorobenzene (meta)

541-73-1

600

5

600

1,4-Dichlorobenzene (para)

106-46-7

75

5

75

3,3-Dichlorobenzidine

91-94-1

0.08

30

30

1,1-Dichloro-1-fluoroethane

1717-00-6

500

30

500

Dichlorodifluoromethane (Freon 12)

75-71-8

1,000

2

1,000

1,1-Dichloroethane (1,1-DCA)

75-34-3

50

1

50

1,2-Dichloroethane

107-06-2

0.3

2

2

1,1-Dichloroethylene (1,1-DCE)

75-35-4

1

1

1

cis-1,2-Dichloroethylene

156-59-2

70

1

70

trans-1,2-Dichloroethylene

156-60-5

100

1

100

Dichlormid

37764-25-3

600

50

600

2,4-Dichlorophenol  (DCP)

120-83-2

20

10

20

1,2-Dichloropropane

78-87-5

0.5

1

1

1,3-Dichloropropene (cis and trans)

542-75-6

0.4

1

1

Dieldrin

60-57-1

0.002

0.03

0.03

Diethyl phthalate

84-66-2

6,000

1

6,000

Diisodecyl phthalate (DIDP)

26761-40-0

100

3

100

Diisopropyl ether  (DIPE)

108-20-3

20,000

5

20,000

2,4-Dimethyl phenol

105-67-9

100

20

100

4,6-Dinitro-o-cresol

534-52-1

0.7

0.03

0.7

2,4-Dinitrophenol

51-28-5

10

40

40

2,4-Dinitrotoluene/2,6-Dinitrotoluene Mix

25321-14-6

0.05

10

10

Di-n-octyl phthalate

117-84-0

100

10

100

Dinoseb

88-85-7

7

2

7

1,4-Dioxane

123-91-1

0.4

0.1

0.4

Diphenyl ether

101-84-8

100

10

100

Diphenylamine

122-39-4

200

20

200

1,2-Diphenylhydrazine

122-66-7

0.04

20

20

Diquat

85-00-7

20

2

20

Endosulfan  (alpha and beta)

115-29-7

40

0.1

40

alpha-Endosulfan (Endosulfan I)

959-98-8

40

0.02

40

beta-Endosulfan (Endosulfan II)

33213-65-9

40

0.04

40

Endosulfan sulfate

1031-07-8

40

0.02

40

Endothall

145-73-3

100

60

100

Endrin

72-20-8

2

0.03

2

Epichlorohydrin

106-89-8

4

5

5

Ethion

563-12-2

4

0.5

4

Ethyl acetate

141-78-6

6,000

10

6,000

Ethylbenzene

100-41-4

700

2

700

Ethylene dibromide (1,2-Dibromoethane)

106-93-4

0.0004

0.03

0.03

Ethylene glycol

107-21-1

300

200

300

Ethylene glycol monomethyl ether

109-86-4

7

20,000

20,000

Ethyl ether

60-29-7

1,000

50

1,000

2-Ethyl-1-hexanol

104-76-7

200

0.5

200

Fluoranthene

206-44-0

300

10

300

Fluorene

86-73-7

300

1

300

Fluoride

16984-48-8

2,000

500

2,000

Foaming agents  (ABS/LAS)

NA

500

0.5

500

Formaldehyde

50-00-0

100

30

100

Glyphosate

1071-83-6

700

30

700

Hardness (as CaCO3)

NA

250,000

10,000

250,000

Heptachlor

76-44-8

0.008

0.05

0.05

Heptachlor epoxide

1024-57-3

0.004

0.2

0.2

Hexachlorobenzene

118-74-1

0.02

0.02

0.02

Hexachlorobutadiene

87-68-3

0.4

1

1

Hexachlorocyclopentadiene

77-47-4

40

0.5

40

Hexachloroethane

67-72-1

2

7

7

Hexahydro-1,3,5-trinitro-1,3,5-triazine (RDX)

121-82-4

0.3

0.5

0.5

Hexane (n-Hexane)

110-54-3

30

5

30

2-Hexanone

591-78-6

40

1

40

Indeno (1,2,3-cd)pyrene

193-39-5

0.05

0.2

0.2

Iron

7439-89-6

300

20

300

Isophorone

78-59-1

40

10

40

Lead (Total)

7439-92-1

5

5

5

Malathion

121-75-5

100

0.6

100

Manganese

7439-96-5

50

0.4

50

Mercury (Total)

7439-97-6

2

0.05

2

Methanol

67-56-1

4,000

70

4,000

Methoxychlor

72-43-5

40

0.1

40

Methyl acetate

79-20-9

7,000

0.5

7,000

Methyl bromide (Bromomethane)

74-83-9

10

1

10

2-(2-Methyl-4-chlorophenoxy) propionic acid (MCPP)

93-65-2

7

0.5

7

Methylene chloride

75-09-2

3

1

3

Methyl ethyl ketone (2-Butanone) (MEK)

78-93-3

300

2

300

2-Methylnaphthalene

91-57-6

30

10

30

Methyl Salicylate

119-36-8

4,000

50

4,000

Methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE)

1634-04-4

70

1

70

Metolachlor

51218-45-2

100

0.5

100

Mirex

2385-85-5

0.1

0.08

0.1

Molybdenum

7439-98-7

40

2

40

Naphthalene

91-20-3

300

2

300

Nickel (Soluble salts)

7440-02-0

100

4

100

Nitrate

14797-55-8

10,000

100

10,000

Nitrite

14797-65-0

1,000

10

1,000

Nitrate and Nitrite

NA

10,000

10

10,000

Nitrobenzene

98-95-3

4

6

6

N-Nitrosodimethylamine

62-75-9

0.0007

0.8

0.8

N-Nitrosodiphenylamine

86-30-6

7

10

10

N-Nitrosodi-n-propylamine (Di-n-propylnitrosamine)

621-64-7

0.005

10

10

Odor 

NA

3b

NA

3b

Oil & Grease & Petroleum Hydrocarbons

NA

None Noticeable

NA

None Noticeable

Oxamyl

23135-22-0

200

1

200

Parathion

56-38-2

4

0.08

4

PBBs (Polybrominated biphenyls)

67774-32-7

0.004

0.001

0.004

PCBs (Polychlorinated biphenyls)

1336-36-3

0.02

0.5

0.5

Pentachlorophenol

87-86-5

0.3

0.1

0.3

Perchlorate

14797-73-0

5

3

5

Perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA)

375-95-1

0.01

0.005

0.01

pH

NA

6.5-8.5

NA

6.5-8.5

Phenol

108-95-2

2,000

10

2,000

Picloram

1918-02-1

500

1

500

Pyrene

129-00-0

200

0.1

200

Salicylic acid

69-72-7

80

30

80

Selenium (Total)

7782-49-2

40

4

40

Silver

7440-22-4

40

1

40

Simazine

122-34-9

0.3

0.8

0.8

Sodium

7440-23-5

50,000

400

50,000

Strontium

7440-24-6

2,000

5

2,000

Styrene

100-42-5

100

2

100

Sulfate

14808-79-8

250,000

5,000

250,000

Taste

NA

None Objectionable

NA

None Objectionable

TDS (Total dissolved solids)

NA

500,000

10,000

500,000

2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD)

1746-01-6

0.0000002

0.00001

0.00001

1,1,1,2-Tetrachloroethane

630-20-6

1

1

1

1,1,2,2-Tetrachloroethane

79-34-5

1

1

1

Tetrachloroethylene (PCE)

127-18-4

0.4

1

1

2,3,4,6-Tetrachlorophenol

58-90-2

200

3

200

Tetrahydrofuran

109-99-9

10

10

10

Thallium

7440-28-0

0.5

2

2

Toluene

108-88-3

600

1

600

Toxaphene

8001-35-2

0.03

2

2

1,1,2-Trichloro-1,2,2-trifluoroethane (Freon 113)

76-13-1

20,000

0.3

20,000

2,4,5-TP (2-(2,4,5-Trichlorophenoxy)propionic acid)

93-72-1

60

0.6

60

1,2,4-Trichlorobenzene

120-82-1

9

1

9

1,1,1-Trichloroethane (TCA)

71-55-6

30

1

30

1,1,2-Trichloroethane

79-00-5

3

2

3

1,1,1-Trifluoroethane

420-46-2

5,000

60

5,000

Trichloroethene (TCE)

79-01-6

1

1

1

Trichlorofluoromethane (Freon 11)

75-69-4

2,000

1

2,000

2,4,5-Trichlorophenol

95-95-4

700

10

700

2,4,6-Trichlorophenol

88-06-2

1

20

20

1,2,3-Trichloropropane

96-18-4

0.005

0.03

0.03

2,4,6-Trinitrotoluene (TNT)

118-96-7

1

0.3

1

Tricresyl phosphate (mixed isomers)

1330-78-5
563-04-2
78-32-0

3

0.1

3

Tri-ortho-cresyl phosphate

78-30-8

3

0.1

3

Vanadium pentoxide

1314-62-1

60

1

60

Vinyl acetate

108-05-4

7,000

5

7,000

Vinyl chloride

75-01-4

0.08

1

1

Xylenes (Total)

1330-20-7

1,000

2

1,000

Zinc

7440-66-6

2,000

10

2,000

Microbiological Criteriam, Radionuclides & Turbidity

Standards promulgated in the Safe Drinking Water Act rules (N.J.A.C. 7:10)

Explanation of Terms:

PQL = Practical quantitation level as defined in N.J.A.C. 7:9C-1.4

CASRN = Chemical Abstracts System Registration Number

NA = not available for this constituent.

a = Asbestos criterion is measured in terms of fibers/liter longer than 10 micrometers (f/L > 10 µm)

CU = Standard Cobalt Units

b = Threshold Odor Number

(Total) means the concentration of metal in an unfiltered sample following treatment with hot dilute mineral acid (as defined in "Methods for Chemical Analysis of Water & Wastes", USEPA-600/4-79-020, March 1979) or other digestion defined by the analytical method. However samples that contain less than 1 nephelometric turbidity unit (NTU) and are properly preserved, may be directly analyzed without digestion.

m = Pursuant to prevailing Safe Drinking Water Act rules, any positive result for fecal coliform is in violation of the MCL and is therefore an exceedance of the ground water quality criterion.



Constituent IGGWQC

SOCs defined as carcinogens in N.J.A.C. 7:9C-1.4
lacking specific or interim specific criteria

5 μg/l each
25 μg/l total

SOCs defined as non-carcinogens in N.J.A.C. 7:9C-1.4 lacking specific or interim specific criteria

100 μg/l each
500 μg/l total

*Synthetic Organic Chemicals (SOCs) are identified as having "evidence of carcinogenicity" or "lacking evidence of carcinogenicity" based upon available scienctific evidence. Chemicals are classified as carcinogens or noncarcinogens for the purposes of risk assessment according to the weight of evidence utilized by USEPA in the National Primary Drinking Water Regulations (50 FR 46880-46901 (1985)). The Interim generic ground water quality criteria do not apply to naturally occurring organic chemicals.

The Department has developed an electronic compendium of standards for water and soil promulgated by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. Included are Surface Water Quality Standards, N.J.A.C. 7:9B; Ground Water Quality Standards, N.J.A.C. 7:9C; Drinking Water Quality Standards, N.J.A.C. 7:10; and soil remediation standards from the Remediation Standards, N.J.A.C. 7:26D. The compendium includes the standards and information about the basis for the standards contained in the above referenced rules. The standards in these rules are used by the Department's regulatory programs to establish site-specific requirements in accordance with the appropriate regulations. Please refer to the official versions of these rules for the most accurate information about the standards currently in effect and how they are administered by the Department. Instructions on obtaining official versions of Department rules are available on the Department's website at http://www.state.nj.us/dep/legal/get_rule.htm.


Current GWQS rules

The current GWQS rules (N.J.A.C. 7:9C) were readopted in 2014 and amended in January 2018. The rules are amended from time to time to address changes in use classification, antidegradation provisions, and other policies or because the rules are about to expire and must be readopted pursuant to the New Jersey Administrative Procedure Act at N.J.S.A. 52:14B-1 et seq. Proposed and adopted amendments to the GWQS rules from 1992 through the present, and their corresponding basis and background documents, are available on the Technical Support Documents Web page.

Before amendments to the GWQS rules can be adopted, opportunities for public review and comment, including a public hearing, are provided as required under the NJAPA. An informal stakeholder process may be convened prior to rulemaking. The Department has been working with stakeholders to inform future amendments to the GWQS. Key issues identified for future amendments include criteria and PQL udpates, refinement of the classification area boundaries and mapping, and refinement of the deisgnated uses for some ground water classifications. Learn more about the Ground Water Quality Standards Rules Stakeholder Process.


   
For more information, please contact Kimberly Cenno, Bureau Chief,
Bureau of Environmental Analysis, Restoration and Standards at (609) 633-1441.

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Last Updated: February 20, 2018