Addressing Polluted Runoff

The greatest source of water pollution in our region today is not factories or other industrial processes but the daily activities of ordinary residents: pesticides and fertilizers we spread on our lawns, petroleum and antifreeze that spill from our cars, leaks from failing septic systems and broken sewer pipes, waste from our pets, soap from washing our cars, road salt we spread on our driveways and sidewalks and other forms of “people pollution”. 

How We’re Working with Towns to Address Flooding & Polluted Runoff:

With funding support from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the Watershed works with towns to adopt local environmental measures. Municipal stormwater ordinances require steps be taken to mitigate the stormwater impacts of new developments and redevelopments. Stream corridor ordinances prevent new development and clearing of native vegetation near streams that filters pollutants and slows the pace of runoff. Tree protection ordinances prevent the widescale clearing of trees, which perform a natural stormwater mitigation function.

muddy water flowing out of a stormwater outfall

With funding support from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, the Watershed is working in 16 central New Jersey towns to identify areas with large expanses of asphalt or concrete that can be reduced and/or retrofitted with strategies to capture polluted runoff, filter it with vegetation or other means, and allow it to percolate into the ground. Supplementing our towns’ existing infrastructure with a new kind of “green infrastructure” can help reduce pollution and flooding and improve the condition of our groundwater aquifers.

We work with the state legislature and state agencies to strengthen key environmental laws and regulations, including those implementing the clean water act, the flood hazard protection act and freshwater wetlands protection act. We fight against efforts to weaken these critical programs. We are also strong advocates for the state’s Green Acres program, which preserves key watershed lands, and Blue Acres program, which purchase flood prone properties.

Additionally, our River-Friendly program works one-on-one with residents, businesses, golf courses, and schools to improve land stewardship practices. Voluntary actions by individuals and institutions help to reduce pollution and prevent runoff at home and where you work. “River-Friendly” participants work to manage stormwater on their properties to reduce polluted runoff while sharing information, education resources, and best practices.



More than 80 participants learned about stormwater utilities and green infrastructure at our second Stormwater Utilities symposium.


Rain gardens are an important type of water capture feature in landscaping that helps slow and absorb runoff from storms.

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Rain barrels are a low-cost way of conserving water to irrigate your garden and control stormwater runoff.

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This free event will bring together experts in the field to share their knowledge and experience working with green infrastructure, stormwater regulations and stormwater utilities.

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Join us for our 3rd Annual NJ Watershed Conference! For those interested in speaking at the conference, the call for proposals is now open.


Governor Murphy needs to sign the Flood Defense Act. Urge the Governor to give NJ the tool it needs to address flooding and water pollution.


An expert from The Watershed Institute will discuss Princeton stormwater issues at a free panel on climate resilience from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Feb. 20 at the Princeton Public Library.

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NJ lawmakers approve a bill that gives municipalities, counties, and utilities an important, and widely accepted tool to reduce flooding and improve water quality.


The 2nd Annual New Jersey Watershed Conference brings stakeholders together on clean water issues.


On Monday, October 22nd, the Assembly Telecommunication and Utilities Committee will be considering stormwater utilities authorizing legislation.

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Watershed conference explores new tool to combat flooding and water pollution at recent conference.

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The Watershed Institute and NJ Spotlight are bringing experts to discuss stormwater utilities with elected officials and others involved in stormwater management.

Flooding on Old Mill Road

Please urge your state Senator to vote for S1073, a bill scheduled for the Senate on Thursday, June 21 that will address the problem of water pollution and flooding.


In NJ, stormwater pollution accounts for 60 percent of the pollution that enters our waters. 40 other states have created and operate “stormwater utilities” to address this problem.

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When it rains, water is absorbed into the ground and recharges the aquifer. New Jersey, as the most densely developed state in the nation, has more paved surfaces that inhibit this absorption.


Hard surfaces like asphalt, concrete, and rooftops mean there is less room for rainfall and snowmelt to soak into the ground.


The Princeton Parklet opened Saturday, featuring live music, free ice cream and displays of rain barrels and green roofs by The Watershed Institute.


Join us at the Watershed Center from 10 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. on March 29 (rescheduled date) for a free workshop that features training on a new …


There is a lot that we don’t know about the Royce Brook! Our water quality assessments are usually based on data collected from StreamWatch volunteers and NJDEP staff, but in this case…


Stormwater utilities, a tool for managing flooding and water pollution, are gaining prominence in NJ as a better way to capture rain and fix old stormwater systems while benefiting homeowners and …

Watershed Rain Garden

The Watershed recently hosted a daylong seminar on stormwater with New Jersey experts, who discussed the problems and solutions of polluted stormwater runoff.

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Downspout planters are landscaped planter boxes that capture rain water from the roof and function in a similar way as a rain garden but instead within a container.


The Watershed recently installed floating wetlands at the Meadow Lakes retirement community in East Windsor and, if successful, this innovative approach to improving water quality may be expanded…


Join the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association’s Kory Kreiseder, a stormwater specialist, at the Princeton Public Library on Oct. 18.

Aerial views of the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy to the New Jersey coast taken during a search and rescue mission by 1-150 Assault Helicopter Battalion, New Jersey Army National Guard, Oct. 30, 2012.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Mark C. Olsen/Released)

With millions of Americans still suffering the ravages of recent hurricanes, resiliency to extreme weather should be a major issue for NJ Gov.-elect Phil Murphy.

Princeton University Green Roof

Green roofs provide aesthetic, environmental, and economic benefits.

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Join us for a panel discussion with leading climate and water experts from academia, government, and the non-profit sector from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. on Sept. 27 at the opening night reception for the “Politics of Water.”


Two grants recently announced by the state Department of Environmental Protection will bolster key efforts by the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association to monitor and improve water quality…

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When rain falls on our roofs, streets, and parking lots, the subsequent water cannot soak into the ground and becomes stormwater runoff.


Around the globe, the warming atmosphere, land and oceans are causing fundamental changes to the water cycle and weather patterns. 

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Princeton neighborhoods are safer from flooding and water intrusion resulting from new construction with Monday’s passage of the ordinance controlling polluted stormwater runoff.

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Residents of Princeton are encouraged to attend the Princeton Council meeting on June 12 at 7pm to speak in favor of a stormwater ordinance, and urge their elected officials to vote for passage of the ordinance.

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Princeton’s town council is poised to take an important step by considering a strong new measure to address flooding and polluted stormwater runoff—two of the region’s most pressing environmental challenges.

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The new stormwater ordinance introduced by the Princeton Council will help address flooding problems and reduce the amount of pollution discharged into…

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NJDEP is renewing municipal stormwater permits for the first time in over a decade but is not incorporating technology that could improve water quality

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As we built our communities with more and more concrete, asphalt and buildings, the need to address stormwater arose. Our thinking on how to address stormwater has evolved over the years.

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New Jersey’s Flood Hazard Control Act rules have two purposes. First, the rules are supposed to reduce the threat to the public safety…