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Division of Land Use Regulation
State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection

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NOTE: All webpages and forms listed on this website are being amended in accordance with the December 18, 2017 rule changes. We will be updating these pages as soon as possible. While these updates are in progress, our web pages may contain inaccuracies. Please refer to the appropriate rule for the most accurate and updated regulations for your activity of concern.

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Freshwater Wetlands - Application Guidance
Discharge of Return Water (General Permit 3)

  • Overview
  • Application Guidance
  • Rules
  • FAQ

General Permit Number 3 (GP3) permits authorizes the discharge of return water from an upland, contained, dredged material disposal area into State open waters, and placement of a pipe above ground for the discharge through freshwater wetlands and/or transition areas. The dredging itself may also require other State and Federal permits.

It is a companion permit, usually associated with lake dredging and/or contaminated site cleanup, but can also be applied for other reason.

It is usual for this permit to be coupled to another permit for the actual dredging activity, such as a General Permit 4 for "Hazardous site investigation and cleanup" or General Permit 13 for "Lake dredging."

It is important to note that this permit, as with all general permits, must adhere to the conditions that apply to all general permits under N.J.A.C. 7:7A-4.3, and N.J.A.C. 7:7A-13.2, Establishing permit conditions.

Under N.J.A.C. 7:7A-13.2 "Establishing permit conditions", specifically section (b)4, "Requirements necessary to comply with any applicable toxic effluent standard or prohibition under section 307(a) of the Federal Act or applicable State or local law. If an applicable toxic effluent standard or prohibition is promulgated or modified after the permit or waiver is issued, the permit or waiver shall be modified as provided in N.J.A.C. 7:7A-14;"

In essence, all discharge water must meet the above standards.

Getting a GP3: If you believe that your project will require a GP3, and you do not know how to apply for one, we suggest that you visit "The Permit Process" section of this website for more information. It will give you a general overview on the ins and outs of permitting, and will direct you to the forms necessary to apply. Please be advised that any application submitted must follow the procedures and information requireme. If you intend on applying for multiple freshwater wetland general permits, be advised that there are strict limits on what can and cannot be applied for, with a 1 acre cap on wetland disturbance for any one project site.

Note: The Department has, for your convenience, developed an Application Checklist for General Permits. Please follow carefully the requirements as outlined on this checklist to insure that you have all of the required information necessary to complete and process your application.

A direct link to the rules cited in our standard approval letter under "Permit Conditions" for this General Permit can be found below.

7:7A-5.3 General permit 3 - Discharge of Return Water

7:7A-4.3 Conditions that apply to all general permit authorizations

7:7A-13.1 Standard conditions that apply to all permits

7:7A - Index to the entire rule.

Please Note: The Department has made every effort to ensure that the text of this regulation is identical to the official, legally effective version set forth in the New Jersey Register. However, should there be any discrepancies between the text on this web site and the official version of the rule, the official version will govern. For more information on obtaining official versions of the rules, How To Get a Paper Copy of Department Rules

Frequently Asked Questions

If you do not see an answer to your question below, please use the Land Use Contact form on this website. We will make every attempt to answer your question as promptly as possible.

Q: Can I discharge return water into a wetland or wetland transition area?

A: No. This permit allows for the placement of a pipe though wetlands and transition areas, but the return water must discharge directly into a State open water.

Q: Is mitigation required?

A: It is un likely there would be 0.1 of an acre of disturbance for these activities, since the disturbance is confined to a pipe, however if disturbance did result in greater then 0.1 of an acre, then mitigation may be required.

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Last Updated: January 16, 2018