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  Bureau of Environmental Analysis, Restoration and Standards

Surface Water Quality Standards - Stream Classifications and Surface Water Quality Criteria

Surface waters are classified based on the type of waterbody and the designated use of the waterbody. New Jersey has both fresh and saline waters. Freshwaters are classified as FW1 (not subject to any man-made wastewater discharges) and FW2 waters (all other freshwaters except Pinelands waters). Freshwaters are further classified based on trout status, trout production (FW2-TP), trout maintenance (FW2-TM), and nontrout (FW2-NT). Saline waters are classified as saline estuarine (SE) and saline coastal (SC). SE waters are further classified into SE1, SE2, and SE3 based on their designated uses. Waters within Pinelands Protection and Preservation areas (which may be either freshwater or saline) are classified as Pinelands waters (PL)

The Department has developed a digital representation of the stream classifications and antidegradation designations established under the SWQS. This digital representation is now a publicly available data layer on the Department's Geographic Information System (GIS). Updates to the current stream classification map and the corresponding GIS coverage are made periodically. The map and the GIS coverage are provided for informational purposes only and are not legally binding. When interpreting the SWQS, the written standards found in the most recently adopted SWQS rules (N.J.A.C. 7:9B) always take precedence.

The surface water quality criteria established for each of the different stream classifications in the SWQS are numerical estimates of constituent concentrations, including toxic pollutants, that are protective of the designated uses of the surface waters of the State. Narrative criteria describe instream conditions to be attained/maintained or avoided. The SWQS also contain technical and general policies, including antidegradation policies and nutrient policies, to ensure that the designated uses are adequately protected.

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

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