Notice of Rule Proposal
Surface Water Quality Standards, N.J.A.C. 7:9B-1.4, 1.5(g) and 1.14(d)

Public Notice
Take notice that the NJ Department of Environmental Protection is proposing amendments to the Surface Water Quality Standards at N.J.A.C. 7:9B to amend the nutrient policy (N.J.A.C. 7:9B-1.5(g)), the nutrient/phosphorus criteria (N.J.A.C. 7:9B-1.14(d)), and the definition of watershed-specific translators (N.J.A.C. 7:9B-1.4).

The Department determined that the existing nutrient policies at N.J.A.C. 7:9B-1.5(g) could be applicable to all waters including saline estuarine (SE) and saline coastal (SC).  The Department is proposing to recodify the provision from N.J.A.C. 7:9B-1.5(g)2 to N.J.A.C. 7:9B-1.14(d)4i as narrative nutrient criterion applicable to all stream classifications.  As a result, the Department is proposing to recodify provisions currently at N.J.A.C. 7:9B-1.5(g)3, 4, and 5 to N.J.A.C. 7:9B-1.5(g)2, 3, and 4.  The numeric phosphorus criteria of 0.1 mg/L for non-tidal streams and 0.05 mg/L phosphorus criteria for lakes, ponds and reservoirs are recodified at N.J.A.C. 7:9B-1.14(d)4ii(1) and (2).  These numeric phosphorus criteria apply unless watershed-specific translators are established pursuant to proposed N.J.A.C. 7:9B-1.5(g)2 or if the Department determines that concentrations do not render the waters unsuitable for the existing or designated uses pursuant to N.J.A.C. 7:9B-1.14(d)4i.

Watershed-specific translators may be an alternative criterion or a combination of criteria.  For example, a watershed-specific translator could be a variation of the existing phosphorus criteria, criteria established for a new parameter such as Chlorophyll a, or a combination of criteria for different parameters (for example, Chlorophyll a and dissolved oxygen).  Watershed-specific translators are established to demonstrate compliance with the narrative criterion to protect existing or designated uses for a specified watershed.  Watershed-specific translators may only be established as part of a TMDL evaluation pursuant to N.J.A.C. 7:15-6.3 to demonstrate compliance with the narrative criterion.  The Department is proposing to amend the definition of watershed-specific translators to provide an accurate cross-reference to the proposed narrative criterion at N.J.A.C. 7:9B-1.14(d)4i.

The proposal is scheduled to be published in the New Jersey Register dated December 21, 2009.  A courtesy copy of the proposal(PDF) is available from the Department’s web site.  It may also be purchased from Lexis/Nexis at www.lexisnexis.com/bookstore.

A public hearing concerning this proposal is scheduled on Wednesday, January 27, 2010 from 3:30 PM to 5:00 PM or close of testimony, at:

Department of Environmental Protection
401 East State Street
Public Hearing Room
Trenton, NJ 08625

Written comments may be submitted by February 19, 2010 to:

Gary J. Brower, Esq.
Attn. DEP Docket Number 21-09-11/754
Office of Legal Affairs
New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
P.O. Box 402
Trenton, NJ 08625-0402