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Alternate Design Septic System Program


The Pinelands Commission’s alternate design septic system pilot program continues to identify high-performance wastewater treatment systems that are protective of nitrogen-sensitive environments both within and beyond the NJ Pinelands Area.

Originally recommended in 2000 by the Commission’s Ad Hoc Septic System Committee, the pilot program evaluates advanced treatment technologies used by residential development in meeting the Commission’s strict nitrogen standards on lots that are smaller than 3.2 acres.  

In developing its recommendations, the Ad Hoc Committee consulted wastewater engineering professionals, state and regional on-site technology demonstration projects, treatment system manufacturers, Pinelands Area county health departments and other state and local agencies.

After consulting with numerous regional, state, and local experts, the Ad Hoc Septic System Committee unanimously recommended the establishment of the pilot program which includes a multitude of safeguards to govern system use. These recommendations are contained in the April 2000 Staff Report to the Ad Hoc Committee. To implement these recommendations, the Commission amended the CMP in 2002 to establish the Alternate Design Treatment Systems Pilot Program. Since 2002, the CMP has been amended a number of times to incorporate recommended changes to the pilot program.

More than 415 Pilot Program systems have been installed in the Pinelands Area through December 2021. To date, three technologies have been shown to meet Pinelands water quality standards when serving residences on one-acre parcels, the minimum parcel size for onsite wastewater systems in the Pinelands Area. These approved technologies are Amphidrome, Bioclere, and SeptiTech. A fourth technology, FAST, has been demonstrated to meet Pinelands water quality standards when used to serve residences on 1.4-acre parcels.  The Commission continues to evaluate other technologies through their participation in the pilot program.

Commission staff periodically produce reports on the pilot program to summarize system installations and effluent monitoring data and periodically provides PowerPoint presentations that summarize the findings presented in the pilot program reports. In addition, Commission staff periodically produces an program Implementation Report, the last of which was issued in November 2019. The latest Implementation Reports were accompanied by an April 2018 PowerPoint presentation and a January 2020 PowerPoint presentation.

For more information about the Pilot Program, please contact the Commission's Planning Office at

January 2022 NJ DEP - Permit to Construct and Operate Treatment Works

December 2022 Update Report

Program Fact Sheet

Notes related to the continued use or decommissioning of Cromaglass septic systems in the Pinelands

System Vendor Information (List)

April 2000 Staff Report to the Ad Hoc Septic System Committee

Implementation Reports

No. 1 November 2006

No. 2 November 2009

No. 3 November 2012

No. 4 April 2018

No.5 November 2019