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DRBC Proposes Permanent Designation To Protect Lower Delaware Water Quality
Two Informational Meetings and Public Hearing Scheduled

For Immediate Release

October 1, 2007

(WEST TRENTON, N.J.) -- Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) Executive Director Carol R. Collier today announced proposed regulatory changes to permanently designate the Lower Delaware and its drainage area as Significant Resource Waters under the commission’s Special Protection Waters (SPW) program.  This would include establishing numeric values for existing water quality in the 76-mile-long stretch of river extending from the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area downstream to the head of tide at Trenton, N.J.

“If adopted, this rulemaking will protect the existing high water quality in the Lower Delaware River and expand the coverage of the commission’s SPW anti-degradation regulations to encompass the entire 197-mile non-tidal Delaware River from Hancock, N.Y to Trenton,” Collier said.  “This clearly demonstrates the DRBC’s long-term objective of keeping our clean water clean.”

The first of two informational meetings on this proposal will take place on Thursday, October 25 at the Delaware and Raritan Canal Commission’s office located at the Prallsville Mill Complex, Route 29, in Stockton, N.J.  A second meeting is scheduled on Thursday, November 1 in Room 315 of the Acopian Engineering Building on the campus of Lafayette College in Easton, Pa.  Both public meetings will held from 7 to 9 p.m. and include presentations by DRBC staff on the proposed rule changes as well as a question and answer period.

A public hearing will be held on Tuesday, December 4 at the DRBC’s office building, located at 25 State Police Drive in West Trenton, N.J.; the hearing will begin at 2:30 p.m. and continue until all those who wish to testify have the opportunity to do so.  Those who wish to testify are encouraged to register in advance.  Written public comments will be accepted through the close of business on Thursday, December 6 and may be submitted by email, fax, U.S. Mail, or overnight mail.

The Lower Delaware has been temporarily classified as Significant Resource Waters since January 2005, making it subject to all SPW regulations except those that stipulate the use of numeric values for existing water quality.  The commissioners at their September 26, 2007 meeting approved an extension of this temporary designation until May 15, 2008 to allow adequate time to complete the proposed rulemaking and public comment process now underway.

The SPW program is designed to prevent degradation in streams and rivers considered to have exceptionally high scenic, recreational, ecological, and/or water supply values through stricter water quality standards and reporting requirements.  The initial SPW regulations adopted in 1992 focused on controlling point (or end-of-pipe) sources of pollution to maintain existing high water quality.  In 1994, the regulations were amended to add language dealing with the complex issue of non-point source pollutants that are found in runoff, especially after heavy rains.

The DRBC was formed in 1961 by compact among the four basin states (Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania) and the federal government.  Its members include the four governors and a federal representative appointed by the president.  The creation of the commission marked the first time in our nation’s history that the federal government and a group of states joined together as equal partners in a river basin planning, development, and regulatory agency.

The full text of the proposed rule changes and additional SPW information are available on the commission’s web site at www.drbc.net.

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Kate O'Hara, (609) 883-9500 ext. 205

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