Wastewater management planning is part of the continuing planning process required by the New Jersey Water Quality Planning Act (N.J.S.A. 58:11A-1 et seq) and section 208 of the Federal Clean Water Act. The intent of the continuing planning process is to align federal, state, regional and local water resource protection and land use planning and regulatory processes. Through the waster management planning process appropriate wastewater management treatment alternatives for geographic areas are identified based on environmental sensitivity and other land use planning objectives such as regional center based development, community revitalization, the provision of low-and moderate-income housing pursuant to NJ Fair Housing Act, redevelopment and reuse of vacant and under utilized sites. The extension of public sewers into areas designated for agricultural development and the establishment of greenways and open space areas would be inconsistent with these planning objectives.
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection's Water Quality Management Planning Rules (N.J.A.C. 7:15-5.4) allocates responsibility for developing countywide wastewater management plans to county boards of chosen freeholders. As such, the Somerset County Board of Chosen Freeholders has charged the Somerset County Planning Board with the responsibility of preparing and maintaining the Somerset County Wastewater Management Plan.
New Water Quality Management Planning Rules Adopted October 7, 2016
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection adopted new Water Quality Management Planning (WQMP) Rules (N.J.A.C. 7:15) on October 7, 2016, and became effective on November 7, 2016. The new rules repeal and replace the prior rules, and set forth the Department's water quality management planning policies, procedures and requirements. These rules focus on the procedures and requirements for adopting new or amended areawide water quality management (WMQ) plans, including Wastewater Management Plans (WMPs) which are a component thereof. Countywide Wastewater Management Plans (WMPs) identify existing wastewater flows and future wastewater generation potential associated with each existing wastewater treatment facility located within the County and are updated every ten (10) years. Countywide WMPs also dessignates the assigned sewer service area associated with each wastewater treatment facility. They identify the wastewater treatment capacity that is necessary for meeting current and future domestic and industrial wastewater flows; as well as solutions for any capacity constraints. Countywide WMPs also addresses septic system carrying capacity in non-sewered areas by applying the nitriate dilution standard established by the NJDEP.
WASTEWATER PLANING PROCESS & REQUIREMENTS
Completion of the Countywide Wastewater Management Plan is being accomplished in phases. The first phase, comprised of the updated Countywide Wastewater Service Areas Map was completed in 2013. The Wastewater Service Areas Map, which was adopted by NJDEP, delineates the assigned sewer service areas associated with existing domestic and industrial wastewater treatment facilities located within the County.
Work is currently underway by the County Planning Division in collaboration with municipalities, sewerage authorities and other stakeholders on the required wastewater treatment facility capacity analysis, nitrate dilution analysis, and identification of potential strategies for addressing any capacity defiencies that may exist or occur in the future. Municipal-specific Septic Management Plans must also be included as part of the Countywide WMP and are underway.
SOMERSET COUNTY WASTEWATER SERVICE AREAS
SOMERSET COUNTY WMP - STAKEHOLDER INVOLVEMENT
The County Planning Division is currently working with municipalities, sewerage authorities and other stakeholders to develop the remaining components of the Countywide WMP. A project kick-off meeting was held on February 22, 2017, and additional meetings are taking place on an on-going basis. The County Planning Division is currently working with municipalities and stakeholders to complete the development of several GIS datasets necessary for performing the required analyses; compiling data necessary for updating wastewater facility tables; and preparing updated maps. Additional information pertaining to Somerset County's WMP process is provided below:
- NJDEP Water Quality Management Planning Rules
- Continuing Planning Process
- Nitrate Dilution Model and Related Information
- Municipal Septic Management Plan Template
- Model Ordinances