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NJDEP new stormwater regulations are in effect

Developers in New Jersey must now meet the State’s new stormwater regulations. New Jersey has had numerous generations of stormwater regulations, some of which have had to be revised following court challenges. Stormwater regulation is the control of rainwater that cannot not be naturally absorbed as a result of new development or disturbances. Poor stormwater management results in degraded surface and groundwater as well as flooding.

The new rule amendments took effect March 2, 2021. In a press release by Commissioner Shawn LaTourette, he stated: “With decades of experience managing storm water with both manufactured devices like expensive underground concrete vaults and less costly nature-based solutions like rain gardens, New Jersey has learned that engineering with nature provides better and more cost-effective outcomes for our water quality while beautifying our communities.”

There are several computational changes in the regulations that impact the size and location of stormwater control infrastructure. And now in New Jersey “green infrastructure” will be the preferred and predominate method for managing storm water as required by the state’s Stormwater Management Rule. This involves more local and naturally occurring stormwater management – an idea that has been in the works for at least 10 years here in New Jersey. Moving away from traditional mechanical control, green infrastructure is more natural, more appealing, more local and ultimately more effective.

Applications deemed complete after the effective date of this regulation will be subject to it, pursuant to our “time of the application rule.” Stormwater regulation is not consistently addressed by our municipalities at the planning and zoning board levels: some understand it and seem to embrace it more so than others. The new regulations may equal level of regulation throughout the State.

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