Category One Rulemaking Actions
Category One antidegradation designations are established in the Surface Water Quality Standards (SWQS) at N.J.A.C. 7:9B-1.15; therefore, all Category One upgrades must be processed as amendments to those rules pursuant to the New Jersey Administrative Procedure Act (N.J.S.A. 52:14B-1 et seq.).
As part of the rulemaking process, the Department publishes a public notice in the New Jersey Register containing the proposed rule amendment and inviting the public to submit written comments within a 60-day period. A public hearing may also be scheduled to provide an opportunity for the public to present oral testimony to the Department. After the close of the public comment period, the Department evaluates the comments received and may proceed to adopt the proposed rule amendments. The upgraded antidegradation designation(s) would be published in the New Jersey Register as a notice of adoption of the rule amendment. This entire rulemaking process takes approximately six to nine months to complete.
The official versions of the existing and proposed SWQS rules are available at the State of New Jersey Office of Administrative Law's Web site at: http://lexisnexis.com/njoal/. The Department also provides an unofficial version of the existing and proposed rules and accompanying public notices on the Department's Rules and Regulations Web page. Hyperlinks on this page for the existing and proposed rules link to these courtesy copies. Unofficial versions of all previous rule proposals and adoptions since 2002 are available for review in the SWQS Rule Archives.
The recently proposed amendments to the SWQS include new Category One upgrades as well as a revised definition of "Category One waters" and new definitions of related terms. The proposed definitions better define the qualifications necessary for waters to be considered for upgrade to Category One designation, as well as the data necessary to evaluate these qualifications. The proposed definitions help the Department and the public identify waters that are truly exceptional and appropriate for upgrade to Category One. More detailed information about the proposed Category One amendments is provided on the Department's Web site.
For more information about the Surface Water Quality Standards and Category One waters, please contact the Bureau of Water Quality Standards and Assessment at (609) 777-1753.