Stormwater Utility Bill Must be Signed By Monday

Stormwater Utility Bill Must be Signed By Monday

Monday, March 18th marks the 45th day since S1073(Smith) was passed in both the Assembly and Senate.The bill authorizes municipalities, counties,and certain authorities to establish stormwater utilities. The bill also requires the DEP to create a stormwater utility guidance manual to provide guidance to municipalities, counties, and authorities seeking to establish stormwater utilities.

“Time is running out on the Governor and clean water. Murphy has till Monday to sign legislation that will help deal with water pollution from stormwater runoff. This bill is the first step to clean up our waterways and the Governor needs to move forward with doing it. There is a lot of misinformation about what this bill actually does. It is not a rain tax and will not affect homes. This is on new development and on existing large-scale development. This will make polluters who don’t want to clean up their fare share of pollution. The legislation is also voluntary by towns to adopt a funding mechanism to establish stormwater utilities,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “This legislation is really a step forward to clean up pollution and protecting our drinking water. Will Governor Murphy stand up to clean water or succumb to fear monitoring or fake news on the so-called rain tax.”

During periods of heavy rainfall the wastewater volume in a combined sewer system can exceed the capacity of the sewer system or treatment plant. Consequently, combined sewer systems are designed to overflow occasionally and discharge excess wastewater directly to nearby streams, rivers, or other water bodies. Dilapidated storm water systems exacerbate the problem by increasing the water in combined sewers and we need funding to reduce the amount of water in sewers during major storm events.

“We need to do more to clean up our combined sewer overflow because they are a health hazard, especially when concerned with sea level rise.  Raw or impartially treated sewage runs during major storms are a huge concern. This could expose communities and the environment to serious contamination. Most of the stormwater control systems we have are broken or do not work, contributing to flooding and pollution. Combined sewer overflow undermines the revitalization of our cities and older towns because no one wants to invest in areas that are flooded with raw sewerage after heavy rains,” said Tittel.

We need at least $14 billion just to fix our combined sewer overflow systems, but overall we need more than $45 billion to fix our water and sewage infrastructure.

“Over development and sprawl are the biggest sources of pollution that can also lead to non-pollution. This bill is mandatory, so it is up to towns to move forward on managing their stormwater because it will just lead to more flooding and more pollution. We have so much non-point, pointless pollution destroying our waterways and it’s one of the most serious challenges we face when it comes to cleaning up our waterways. The water can be full of bacteria, chemicals, and debris that can contaminate our drinking water and invade the ecosystem,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “We urge Governor Murphy to sign this bill because it will go a long way to help municipalities to come with a plan to develop a program and infrastructure in place to help clean up non-point pollution and CSOs.”

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