Good Start

Apr 17, 2019

To the Editor:

Stormwater runoff is the biggest source of water pollution in New Jersey, creating more flooding and impacting public health. Climate impacts causing more severe and frequent storms are adding to the damage.

S-1073, signed into law by Gov. Phil Murphy, allows towns and counties to voluntarily establish stormwater utilities that can seek payment from developers for the pollution problems they create. This provides another tool for towns to better manage their storm water and prevent flooding.

Most existing stormwater control systems are broken or do not work. In heavy rains storm water increases the combined sewer systems overflow, discharging overflow and raw sewage into streams and rivers, creating serious health problems. The revitalization of our cities and older towns is undermined because no one wants to invest in areas flooded with raw sewage after major storms.

This law is not a rain tax and it will not affect homes. It targets new commercial development and existing large-scale development. Stormwater utilities may collect fees from property owners where runoff originates to pay for stormwater management. The law will also help towns develop a program and infrastructure to reduce stormwater pollution.

It is a good start. However, the state Department of Environmental Protection must also strengthen its rules protecting clean water and reverse Gov. Christie’s rollbacks.

This law is not mandatory, so it is up to towns to move forward. We have so much nonpoint pollution destroying our waterways. It’s one of the most serious challenges we face when it comes to cleaning up our waterways.

Jeff Tittel, director

New Jersey Sierra Club



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