The Watershed Pollution Management Element (WPME) is responsible for protecting New Jersey's ground and surface water quality by assuring the proper treatment and discharge of wastewater (and its residuals) and stormwater from various types of facilities and activities, including the generation, monitoring, and management of sludge and sludge derived products.
One of WPME's main functions is the issuance of NJPDES permits, which limit the amount of pollutants discharged into the waters of the state. The NJPDES Program's goals are to:
- restore, enhance, and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the waters of the state,
- protect public health and safety,
- protect potable water supplies,
- safeguard fish and aquatic life and scenic and ecological values,
- enhance the domestic, municipal, recreational, industrial, agricultural, and other uses of water, and
- prevent, control, and abate water pollution.
Much of the Program was created in 1972 by the Federal Clean Water Act. The NJPDES Program was delegated to New Jersey by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 1981.
The WPME, through the NJPDES program, has issued 5584 currently active permits. This includes 255 municipal permits and 422 industrial permits for wastewater discharges to surface water (excluding stormwater only permits). For stormwater discharges, 3387 NJPDES permits (184 - individual, 3203 - general) have been issued, including 675 for the municipal stormwater program. For ground water discharges, 1034 NJPDES permits have been issued to both municipal and industrial facilities including landfills. The Element has also permitted 74 NJPDES Significant Indirect Users (SIUs). These SIU permits are for facilities (mostly industries) that have a potential to discharge significant quantities of wastewate and/or concentrated pollutants into a sewer system for treatment at a municipal treatment plant. In addition, 61 NJPDES permits have been issued to municipal and private entities for the land application, processing, storage, and distribution of sewage sludges (residuals) and sludge derived products. The WPME also regulates alternative designs of onsite wastewater treatment systems through the issuance of Treatment Works Approvals.
Regulatory Bureaus in the Water Pollution Management Element:
Bureau of Surface Water and Pretreatment Permitting (BSWPP)
Bureau of Stormwater Permitting (BSP)
Bureau of Ground Water, Residuals, and Permit Administration (BGRPA)
NJPDES Data Management Support:
BGRPA Permit Administration Section