New Jersey communities with combined sewer systems are developing solutions to reduce harmful overflows that carry untreated sewage into streets and waterways, reducing quality of life, degrading the environment, and hindering economic development. Will the proposed solutions address Jersey Water Works’ goals for cost-effective approaches, affordable options, community benefits, and a balance of green and gray projects? Learn more here and get involved.

This fact sheet provides an overview of the CSO issue in New Jersey, by describing the problem, new regulatory requirement, and potential solutions. New Jersey Future. 2015.

Status Update: Long Term Control Plans Submitted and Under Review.

In October 2020 the operators of combined sewer systems submitted Long Term Control Plans (LTCPs) that describe how they intend to reduce overflows of raw sewage. These plans include the gray and green infrastructure projects selected to control CSOs, as well as the cost, project locations, and implementation schedule. Following a review process by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) that includes public comment, the NJDEP will issue a new set of CSO permits to operators for the next five years. The LTCPs, the permits themselves, and a host of explanatory and supporting information, can be found on the NJDEP website.

About Long Term Control Plans

To develop comprehensive Long Term Control Plans, CSO permit-holders took several steps, including:

  • Developing a detailed understanding, also known as a characterization, of the sewer system.
  • Modeling how rain and snow melt affect sewage flows and overflows.
  • Identifying potential solutions that would reduce or stop overflows, including gray infrastructure and green infrastructure.
  • Engaging residents, community groups, and business owners to learn about the solutions they suggest and support.
  • Evaluating which options will have the greatest impact at the lowest cost, and considering the additional benefits that certain options, such as green infrastructure, may have on the overall community.

NEW! Public Review Opportunity

Join JWW to Review Combined Sewer Overflow Long Term Control Plans

New Jersey’s combined sewer overflow (CSO) Long Term Control Plans (LTCP) were submitted by October 1, 2020. The LTCPs include the infrastructure projects, costs, and schedules that municipalities and utilities with combined sewer systems propose to use to control CSOs, which will ultimately result in compliance with the New Jersey water quality standards and Clean Water Act requirements. This deadline signifies both the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) review of the plans and a public review, and provides an opportunity to submit comments. NJDEP will review comments through January 31, 2021. You can visit the NJDEP Long Term Control Plan Submittals website to access the draft plans. Click here to learn more about how to review the plans and submit comments.

Background

In July 2015, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection issued new permits to the operators of these systems, requiring that they develop, adopt, and implement plans to control overflows of raw sewage. Jersey Water Works worked with a range of stakeholders to encourage permittees to go beyond merely complying with the minimum requirements of the permits, but to see this as an opportunity to employ a variety of strategies that bring them into regulatory compliance and also deliver a range of health and economic benefits to the affected communities.

New Jersey’s CSO permits are intended to meet the requirements of the federal Clean Water Act and the national CSO policy by reducing the number and volume of combined sewer overflows. . 

What has already been done?

Communities and wastewater treatment plants throughout New Jersey already have taken steps toward reducing their overflows, including developing CSO LTCPs, designing green and gray infrastructure projects, engaging in public outreach, disseminating public information, installing grates and other infrastructure to reduce the amount of trash that goes into the sewer and eventually out into the waterways. In addition, communities have invested in upgrades that have eliminated 71 CSO outfalls.

Public Notification

The Jersey Water Works Community Engagement Committee has developed graphics for signage that can be used by combined sewer system cities and towns, organizations, and individuals to educate the general public on combined sewer overflows. These images have been approved by NJDEP for permit holders to use to help fulfill the NJ CSO permit public participation requirement.

Resources:

New Jersey’s Combined Sewer Systems Fact Sheet

This fact sheet provides an overview of the CSO issue in New Jersey, by describing the problem, new regulatory requirement, and potential solutions. New Jersey Future. Updated in 2017.

New Jersey’s Combined Sewer Systems By the Numbers

This fact sheet frames the CSO issue in New Jersey by providing a host of facts about combined sewer systems, including their discharges, demographic and other information on their host municipalities and regional sewer utilities, and CSO solutions. A map is included. New Jersey Future, 2015.

ripple-effects

Ripple Effects

This report explores urban water infrastructure in two ways:
Part 1: The State of Water Infrastructure in New Jersey Cities
Part 2: Why Water Infrastructure Matters – Stories From Four Cities

water-infrastructure-in-nj-cso-cities

Water Infrastructure in New Jersey’s CSO Cities: Elevating the Importance of Upgrading New Jersey’s Urban Water Systems

This 2014 report was developed by Rutgers—The State University of New Jersey team led by Daniel J. Van Abs Ph.D. PP AICP. It focuses on the 21 New Jersey municipalities that have combined sewer systems and examines issues regarding water supply and wastewater capacity for these municipalities. Water and Sewer System Ownership and Management Map: A detailed review of water and sewer system ownership and management, including collection systems and treatment plants, in New Jersey CSO municipalities. New Jersey Future, 2014.

Water Infrastructure that Works for Cities: Best Practices and Considerations for Preparing Long Term Control Plans to Control Combined Sewer Overflows

This white paper draws upon best practices from across the country to provide New Jersey’s CSO communities with smart solutions that employ innovation, reduce costs, and deliver tangible benefits that build community support. Prepared for New Jersey Future. 2015.

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