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New Stormwater Rules and Guidelines in New Jersey

What Developers Need to Know

If you’ve had a development project in the State of New Jersey over the past year, the new stormwater regulations have been looming large over your plans. Effective on March 2, 2021, these new regulations could drastically alter the design, permitting and construction of your project. Creative thinking and an understanding of these new rules could be the key to staying on schedule, on budget and ultimately having a successful project.

The revised rules require the use of green infrastructure practices for stormwater management standards for water quality, water quantity control, and groundwater recharge. Green infrastructure is defined as practices that use or imitates a natural means to capture, filter, absorb, and/or reuse stormwater. These “best management practices” (BMP) could include grass swales, green roofs, cisterns, infiltration basins, bioretention, sand filter, pervious pavement system, and/or constructed wetlands.

In addition, the new requirement replaces the previous requirement which calls for major developments to incorporate non-structural stormwater management strategies to the “maximum extent practicable”. It now enforces an objective, not subjective, standard that requires that stormwater management features be distributed throughout a site rather than a large centralized basin.

While this initiative is ultimately to prevent pollution in waterways and reduce flooding, it may be seen as a challenge for current and future construction projects. Here are some “best practices” to avoid delays and keep your project compliant with these new regulations:

  • Involve all parties in the project from the beginning (this includes all engineers, architects, contractors, developers and/or owners)
  • Conduct a thorough analysis of the current site conditions (soil conditions, presences of or missing vegetation, erosion, clogged or poorly maintained stormwater management features)
  • Include green infrastructure design consideration (with their benefits) when creating concept plans
  • Consider starting the permitting early in the process The best way to ensure that your designs and permitting are done in accordance with these new regulations is to have an informed and experienced engineer on your project team.

The best way to ensure that your designs and permitting are done in accordance with these new regulations is to have an informed and experienced engineer on your project team.