At The Watershed Institute on Friday, February 17, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Shawn M. LaTourette announced that the state will make $19 million in grants available to municipalities to help with the new municipal stormwater permitting (MS4) requirements.
“The science is clear – New Jersey is facing increasing extreme precipitation as a result of climate change,” LaTourette said in advance of the announcement. “Much of our stormwater infrastructure is woefully out of date and no longer up to handling increasing volumes of stormwater. We need to do a better job, including properly sizing our stormwater infrastructure and embracing new approaches that will reduce stormwater impacts to our waterways. This grant program will help municipal governments take the next step toward better protecting their communities and our environment.”
“The new MS4 permit should be transformational for New Jersey’s waterways and how our communities handle stormwater,” said Executive Director Jim Waltman of the Watershed. “The commitment of funding today is a great start to helping municipalities effectively implement the new requirements to address our water pollution, flooding problems, and failing stormwater infrastructure.”
The funding program will be available to communities of all sizes with grants being awarded up to $75,000. Full details of the availability of funds will be on the state’s website https://nj.gov/dep/wlm/grants/swgrant.html by March 3 with grants being awarded on a rolling basis through Dec. 2023. Grant money may be used for a variety of purposes including adoption of stormwater-related ordinances, development of best management practices, completion of an MS4 infrastructure map and more.
“Municipalities, in particular the smaller towns that were part of the more rural Tier B group, will need these funds to help them move forward with these new MS4 requirements,” said Michael Pisauro Policy Director of the Watershed. “The new requirements will require all communities to create a new comprehensive plan on how stormwater is managed not just for storms today, but for the more intense storms we’ll see in the years to come due to climate change.”
According to the NJDEP, grant money may be used for adoption of stormwater-related ordinances, implementation of a street sweeping program, implementation of municipal maintenance yard, development of best management practices, completion of an MS4 infrastructure map, implementation of an illicit discharge detection and elimination program, required employee training, and completion of watershed improvement plans.
The Watershed Institute held the 6th annual Watershed Conference on Feb. 10 & 17. The conference brought together over 200 community members, municipal leaders, engineers, lawyers and others committed to finding solutions to managing polluted stormwater and flooding.