Stormwater Management

In 2004, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) adopted amendments to the New Jersey Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NJPDES) regulations for the development and implementation of the Municipal Stormwater Regulation Program (NJAC 7:14A-25) and established two NJPDES general permits to authorize municipal stormwater discharges, known as Tier A and Tier B.  This program was developed in response to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (USEPA) Phase II Rules published in December, 1999, which required municipalities to develop and implement a program to reduce discharges of pollutants entering water bodies from stormwater systems to the maximum extent practicable.  These are referred to as "municipal separate storm sewer systems" (MS4s).  East Amwell was originally classified as a Tier B municipality due to its size and rural characteristics and it operated its stormwater management program consistent with NJDEP rules.

East Amwell continued on the Tier B path through permit renewal terms in 2009 and 2018, and until 2023, when the NJDEP MS4 permit was redesigned to comply with the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES), largely due to the increase in flooding events that result in additional stormwater runoff discharging pollutants into the nation's waterways.  One of the major changes in the new permit was the reclassification of former Tier B communities to Tier A, which carries numerous new measures that address stormwater quality issues.  East Amwell is working on improving its stormwater management practices, and as new compliance measures are adopted, they will be posted on this page for the public's information and benefit.  Community engagement and cooperation is critical to reduce the discharge of pollutants in our waterways, and to reduce the risk of flooding and its devastating impacts.  This is a challenge we can best meet together, just as we work together in so many ways to protect the quality of life in East Amwell Township.

Stormwater Basics

Water from rain and melting snow that flows over lawns, parking lots and streets is known as stormwater runoff.  This stormwater runoff may flow through gutters, into catch basins, through storm drain pipes and ditches, or over streets and paved areas.  Along the way, the stormwater runoff picks up trash (fast-food wrappers, cigarette butts, Styrofoam cups, etc.) and toxins, bacteria and other pollutants (such as gas, motor oil, antifreeze, fertilizers, pesticides, and pet droppings). This stormwater runoff is usually not treated, and is discharged into local surface waterbodies and groundwater.

This polluted stormwater runoff can contaminate drinking waterbodies, it can force the closing of beaches because of health threats from harmful bacteria to swimmers, including those from Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs), it can kill fish and other wildlife and it can destroy wildlife habitat.

In most towns, the Department regulates stormwater runoff from municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4s) owned or operated by towns and other MS4 permittees in the state via the MS4 General Permits.  The Department has also issued the Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) permits to regulate stormwater in 21 towns that have combined stormwater and sanitary sewage systems.

Human activity is the primary cause of stormwater pollution.  Everything that we put on the ground or into the storm drain can end up in our water.  Each of us has a responsibility to make sure these contaminants stay out of our water.