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New Jersey DEP takes a “green” approach to stormwater management

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is taking a green approach to managing stormwater runoff in 2021. According to a DEP Press Release, as of March 2, New Jersey’s stormwater regulations aim to make “green infrastructure” the “preferred and predominate method of managing stormwater.”

As categorized by the DEP, “green infrastructure” refers to a variety of stormwater management methods that focus on allowing rainwater to infiltrate vegetation and soils in order to be treated and stored for reuse. An example of one such practice is creating bioretention basins, which are landscaped depressions that collect stormwater and then work to treat the water by removing contaminants and sediment, preparing it for reuse. These methods are in contrast with more traditional, or “gray infrastructure,” methods which focus on guiding rainwater away from where it falls, directing it downstream and ultimately into a waterway. Green infrastructure instead seeks to mimic natural process to manage rainwater where it falls.

Stormwater management causes a range of issues for owners of residential and commercial properties alike. The mismanagement of rainwater by neighboring homeowners can often lead to flooding and in some cases property damage for the property owner who is receiving the runoff. Stormwater runoff is also a major source of pollution in New Jersey’s waterways. It will be interesting to see how these new regulations favoring green infrastructure in the DEP’s permitting processes begin to quite literally change the landscape of New Jersey’s stormwater management.

To learn more about green infrastructure in New Jersey, you can visit the DEP’s website: https://www.nj.gov/dep/gi/More_Info.html. You can also read more about the DEP’s new stormwater regulations here: https://www.nj.gov/dep/newsrel/2021/21_0006.htm

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