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news releases

July 19, 2005


Contact: Alescia Marie Teel
(609) 984-1795


DEP Proposes New Pollution Limits to Improve Water Quality
in the Wanaque Reservoir and Over 400 River Miles Across the State

(05/101) TRENTON -- Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell today proposed new pollution limits, targeting phosphorus that causes water quality impairment of 200 river miles within the Passaic River Basin and the Wanaque Reservoir, as well as an additional 200 river miles in 20 waterways across the state.

"Improving the water quality of our most significant and largest drinking sources is fundamental to protecting the health of New Jersey's residents," said Acting Governor Richard J. Codey. "Safeguarding our water resources also is key to supporting New Jersey's growing communities and economy."

"DEP is once again building on its clean water commitment and record," said Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell. "For critical drinking water sources like the Wanaque and others, we will continue to work at an accelerated pace to make up for past delays in setting tougher pollution limits."

For the Passaic River Basin, DEP has proposed total maximum daily loads (TMDLs) - or pollution limits - to address phosphorus contamination entering the Wanaque Reservoir and over 200 river miles. Affected rivers within the Passaic River Basin include Pompton River, Ramapo River, Pequannock River, Wanaque River, Upper & Middle Passaic River, Whippany River, and Rockaway River.

The proposal specifically calls for a reduction of phosphorus - from 57,574 pounds to 17,496 pounds per year - going into the Wanaque Reservoir, which lies within the Passaic River Basin. The TMDL proposal requires 42 wastewater treatment plants within the Passaic River Basin to reduce phosphorus discharges by 83 percent, and establishes an 80 percent phosphorus reduction target for nonpoint source pollution. One measure to address nonpoint source pollution is a requirement for all municipalities impacting the Wanaque Reservoir to adopt a low phosphorus fertilizer ordinance.

DEP also proposed TMDLs for 20 additional waterways encompassing 200 river miles across 10 watershed areas. These 20 TMDLs call for phosphorus reductions ranging from 21 to 92 percent (see below Phase I WLAs Table).

In developing these TMDLs, DEP identifies the maximum amount of phosphorus that a water body can contain and still meet New Jersey's water quality standards.

DEP then allocates the targeted reduction amongst existing pollution sources to restore the waterways to the state's "clean water" standard.

The federal Clean Water Act (CWA) established section 303(d) that requires states to prepare and submit a report that identifies waters that do not meet water quality standards. The waterbodies on the 303(d) list have impaired water quality and the state is required to develop a TMDL for each pollutant in these waterbodies by priority.

DEP published the 21 proposed TMDLs for phosphorus (listed below) in the July 5 New Jersey Register (NJR). DEP will hold hearings beginning on August 4 to accept public comments, please visit the web site for date and location for each TMDL.

See letter to dischargers [PDF 35 Kb] and phase I waste load allocation (WLA) table [PDF 85 Kb] (includes reduction amounts)

For more information about New Jersey's watersheds visit

New Jersey's Proposed TMDLs in July 5 New Jersey Register

Waterbody TMDL Type City/County

  1. Barrett Run Phosphorus Bridgeton

  2. Blacks Creek Phosphorus Chesterfield-Georgetown Road

  3. Black Creek Phosphorus Route 94/517 in Vernon

  4. Black Creek Phosphorus Black Creek near Vernon

  5. Black Creek Phosphorus Sand Hill Road in Vernon

  6. Big Timber Creek Phosphorus Blackwood Terrace

  7. Cohansey River Phosphorus Seeley

  8. Coles Brook Phosphorus Hackensack

  9. Lockatong Creek Phosphorus Rosemont-Raven Rock Road Bridge

  10. . Metedeconk River Phosphorus Jackson Mills road in Freehold

  11. Musquapsink Brook Phosphorus River Vale

  12. Oldmans Creek Phosphorus Porches Mill

  13. Pascack Brook Phosphorus Westwood

  14. Pompton Lake Phosphorus Passaic County

  15. Ramapo River Phosphorus (near) Mahwah

  16. Shark River Phosphorus (near) Neptune

  17. Shark River Brook Phosphorus Shark River Station in Tinton Falls

  18. Wanaque Reservoir Phosphorus Passaic County

  19. Wickecheoke Creek Phosphorus (near) Sergentsville

  20. Wickecheoke Creek Phosphorus Stockton

  21. Waywayanda/ Phosphorus Route 515 in Maple Grange Pochuck River




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Last Updated: July 21, 2005