COUNTY RECEIVES $100,000 GRANT TOWARDS STORM WATER MANAGEMENT
(Woodbury, NJ) - Gloucester County Freeholder Director Stephen M. Sweeney announced today that Gloucester County is the recipient of a $100,000 Sharing Recourses Efficiently (SHARE) grant to be used toward the County's Stormwater Management Plan. The grant was awarded to the Gloucester County Improvement Authority (GCIA) through the Department of Community Affairs. The GCIA is spearheading this county-wide project.
"This grant will help provide funds toward implementing our stormwater management program in compliance with the Department of Environmental Protection requirements," said Freeholder Director Sweeney. "The county is in the planning stages for a myriad of tools to help keep pollutants out of our stormwater, which directly impacts the quality of our drinking water," said Sweeney, who serves as liaison to the GCIA.
Sweeney said that when the NJDEP came out with its Stormwater requirements in 2004, the agency required all municipalities and certain county operations to obtain permits for non-point source stormwater discharges, and to adopt new stormwater standards for existing and new development, and to comply with a wide range of permit conditions. At that point, said Sweeney, "The County offered to assist with some of the most costly municipal permit obligations, especially where we can accomplish them more efficiently by utilizing an economy of scale."
Among the many other requirements, municipalities must provide permanent covered deicing material storage buildings under the Stormwater requirements. "This $100,000 will provide relief toward undertaking this effort on behalf of our municipalities," said Sweeney. "The Stormwater Management Plan will accomplish a lot toward keeping our water clean, but a heavy burden was falling on the shoulders of municipalities with regards to its enactment," said Sweeney.
The Freeholder Director said, "Salt and de-icing materials sheds, vehicle washing facilities and Geo-global Positioning Systems (GPS mapping) are all tools that we are looking at helping regionalize for the municipalities."
"It's not efficient for each of our 24 individual municipalities to repeat all of this," said Sweeney. "For instance, the County could locate de-icing material storage sheds at strategic locations for groups of municipalities to utilize. We don't need 24 storage buildings, loaders and purchasing arrangements," the Director stated.
According the DEP's Clean Water Book, Stormwater runoff is the most common way that nonpoint source pollution reaches local rivers, creeks and lakes. Rainwater will carry chemicals, nutrients, sediments and other forms of NPS into local streams (either directly or through storm sewers) if the water is not absorbed by soil and vegetation. Therefore, the major goal of stormwater management is to increase absorption of rainwater by soil and vegetation, usually by reducing the speed of flow or by retaining the water in basins. This will reduce the amount of pollutants being carried off into storm sewers and streams, as well as reduce flooding. Increasing absorption by soil has the added benefit of helping to maintain ground water supplies, which are seriously depleted in many areas.
In addition to what the county and municipalities are working to achieve to manage storm water, Freeholder Director Sweeney said that there are many steps that residents can take to reduce stormwater pollution.
"Small steps by residents can make a big difference in reducing stormwater pollution too," said Freeholder Director Sweeney. "Keeping your stormwater drains free of litter, leaves and grass, cleaning up after your pets, properly disposing of yard waste, limiting use of fertilizers and pesticides and properly disposing of hazardous products are actions our residents can take to help reduce sources of stormwater pollution," Sweeney stated.
Sweeney concluded, "There is a lot of planning, action, education and information still to come about the County's Stormwater Management Program, but when it all comes together at every level, county, municipal and residential, it will all add up to cleaner water for everyone."