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State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
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Water Quality Accountability Act (N.J.S.A. 58:31-1 et seq.)
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rusty water pipe and valveValves (Section 3)

Componenent Requirement

Valves Greater than or equal to 12"

Inspect every 2 years
All other valves Inspect every 4 years
All valves GPS to the extent possible

Inspection includes:

  1. clearing the area
  2. cleaning out valve box
  3. dynamic testing – opening and closing valve according to manufacturer or the number of turns equal to 15% of completely open

Hydrants (Section 3)

hydrant
Componenent Requirement

All fire hydrants

Test annually
Implement a plan for hydrants and dead mains
GPS all to the extent possible
Label each with the purveyor's name (eg. Abbreviation or corporate symbol), as well as an identifying number or symbol, with paint, brand, or soft metal plate

imageCybersecurity Plans (section 4)

The Water Quality Accountability Act requires that public water systems that have more than 500 service connections and an internet-connected control system to develop a cybersecurity program in accordance with the requirements established by the Board of Public Utilities (Board).  The Boards’ Order identifies comprehensive cybersecurity requirements for Board regulated electric, natural gas, and water/wastewater utilities and includes the following: 

  • Establish a cybersecurity program that defines and implements organization accountabilities and responsibilities for cyber risk management activities and establish policies, plans, processes and procedures for identifying and mitigating cyber risk to critical systems;
  • Conduct risk assessments and implement appropriate controls to mitigate identified risks;
  • Maintain situational awareness of cyber threats and vulnerabilities;
  • Report cyber incidents and suspicious activity to Board Staff via the New Jersey Cybersecurity & Communications Integration Cell (NJCCIC);
  • Create and exercise Incident Response and Recovery Plans; and,
  • Provide cybersecurity awareness and training programs.

Further, the Board Order requires each utility to appoint an executive to oversee the cybersecurity program.

In addition, the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness’s NJCCIC is developing an applicability survey to identify systems with an internet-connected control system, as well as supporting guidance/template to address the requirements of a cybersecurity plan/program.  These resources are coming soon.

By February 16, 2018, all applicable purveyors are required to have developed a cybersecurity program in accordance with the Board’s requirements.  All applicable purveyors will be notified of the date and process for the future submission of the cybersecurity program.

In addition, 60 days after development of the Cybersecurity Plan (by April 17, 2018, if developed on February 16, 2018), applicable purveyors are required to join the New Jersey Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Cell to promote awareness of cyber related threats, attacks, resources and tools, and to create a cyber security incident reporting process.

broken water pipeNotice of Violation/Mitigation Plans (section 5)

  • A mitigation plan (including a report by a licensed operator (LO) and professional engineer (PE) that includes a technical analysis of how the mitigation plan is intended to prevent the reoccurrence of the notices of violation) must be submitted to DEP:
    • By purveyors who have received 3 notices of violation for any reason within a rolling 12-month period
    • By purveyors who have received 2 violations related to MCL exceedances within a rolling 12-month period

Certification (section 6)

  • The highest ranking official (e.g. executive director, mayor) must certify in writing to the Department, annually, that the water purveyor complies with all Federal and State drinking water regulations and the relevant sections of the WQAA.

Agency partners are working to standardize the content of the required certifications and build a portal for the electronic submission of this requirement.

Asset Management Plans (section 7)

  • By April 19, 2019 – purveyors need to have implemented an Asset Management Plan.
  • Minimum requirements of the Plan are:
    • A water main renewal program with a 150-year replacement cycle or other appropriate replacement cycle determined by a detailed engineering analysis
    • A water supply and treatment program designed to inspect, maintain, repair, renew, and upgrade pumps, sources and treatment facilities
    • Asset management plans and system condition reports must be certified by the LO or PE.
    • Consistent with AWWA standards
  • Annually – each purveyor must dedicate funds to address/remediate the highest priority projects in their plan
  • By April 19, 2022 and every 3 years thereafter, each purveyor must submit to the Department and BPU or DCA (whichever is applicable) a report based on the infrastructure improvements taken, and to be taken and the costs of those improvements

Agency partners are working to build a portal available for the electronic submission of this requirement in the future.

The Department’s existing Asset Management Program

Frequently Asked Questions

APPLICABILITY

Question - Who does this legislation apply to?
Answer – All public water systems with 500 or more service connections.

VALVE/HYDRANT INSPECTION QUESTIONS

Question – Do I have to submit my inspection/flushing records?
Answer – No, however you are required to maintain these records for at least six years, and they should be made available during inspections conducted by the Department.

Question – Can I use a sticker or ring to label my fire hydrant?
Answer – No, the Act specifically states that paint, brand, or a soft metal plate must be used to label your hydrant.

Question – Do I need to inspect all of the valves in my system, including the treatment system?
Answer – The Department interprets the legislation to include the valves in the distribution system, and not those in the treatment system.

Question – Are there specific standards I need to adhere to when collecting GPS data?
Answer – Yes, all GPS data must be collected in accordance with NJDEP standards. Please see the “NJDEP GPS Data Collection Standards for GIS Data Development.

Question – What AWWA standards should I be using for my hydrant and valve inspections?
Answer – AWWA manuals M17 (Fire Hydrants: Installation, Field Testing & Maintenance) and M44 (Distribution Valves: Selection, Installation, Field Testing & Maintenance).

CYBERSECURITY QUESTIONS

Question – What are the submission requirements of the cybersecurity plan?
Answer - In March 2016, the Board of Public Utilities (BPU) adopted cybersecurity requirements applicable to their regulated universe (Electric Sector, Natural Gas Sector, and regulated water/wastewater systems.) The requirements established were developed in consultation with experts in utility cybersecurity and involved the NJ Cybersecurity & Communications Integration Cell (branch of NJOHSP), and the FBI.  The Executive Order can be found at www.nj.gov/bpu/pdf/boardorders/2016/20160318/3-18-16-6A.pdf. These same requirements are also applicable to systems subject to the Water Quality Accountability Act.

Question – What counts as an “internet-connected control system?"
Answer – The New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness is in the process of developing a checklist that will determine applicability. For more information see the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness website.

Question – What is the New Jersey Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Cell, and how do I join it?
Answer – The New Jersey Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Cell (NJCCIC) is the State’s one-stop shop for cybersecurity information sharing, threat analysis, and incident reporting. All purveyors under the WQAA (that have internet-connected control systems) must join NJCCIC within 60 days of developing their cybersecurity program. This can be done by accessing their website: www.cyber.nj.gov/, clicking on the “Membership” tab, and filling out the relevant contact information.

ASSET MANAGEMENT QUESTIONS

Question – Is there funding available for developing an Asset Management Plan?
Answer – Yes, through the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, up to $100,000 per applicant is available, with principal forgiveness, for systems with less than 10,000 people. Short-term interest free loans are available for larger systems with a capital improvement. Click on the “Funding” tab.  

Question – Do I need to submit my Asset Management Plan?
Answer – No, you need to have established and implemented an Asset Management Plan by April 19, 2019; however, you do not need to submit the plan. However, you must submit an Asset Management Plan Report.  

Question – What should be included in the content of the triannual Asset Management Report?
Answer – The first report that will be submitted to DEP, BPU, and DCA regarding the status of each purveyor’s Asset Management Plan will not be due until April 19, 2022. A template and guidance will be provided as the Department and agency partners develop specific requirements for this submittal item. Broadly speaking, the report should be submitted at least once every three years. It must include updates about infrastructure improvements that have been made both in the previous three years, and planned improvements in the next three years. 

Question – Do all water mains need to be on a 150-year replacement cycle?
Answer – The mains must be replaced on a 150-year replacement cycle, or other appropriate cycle as determined by a detailed engineering analysis.

Question – Do I need to do a water loss audit as part of my Asset Management Plan?
Answer -  Yes, a thorough Asset Management Plan should include a water loss audit. Free water loss audit software can be obtained on the American Water Works Association website.

Question – Are there any AWWA manuals that would be useful in developing my Asset Management Plan?
Answer -  AWWA manuals M28 (Rehabilitation of Water Mains) and M36 (Water Loss Audits and Loss Control Programs).


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Last Updated: January 30, 2018