NJDEP Issues New Impacts to Surface Water Guidance

Posted on November 25th, 2015

The new guidance posted by NJDEP this morning clarifies the regulations surrounding the investigation of migration of contaminants to surface waters. Investigation of surface waters is required by the Technical Requirements for Site Remediation (NJAC 7:26E), specifically in the Receptor Evaluation, Site Investigation and Remedial Investigation sections. Surface water investigation also includes the sediments associated with these waters.


Surface water may be impacted from current or historic discharges directly, or via contaminant migration through outfalls, overland flow, or migration of groundwater. Investigation may include the collection of soil, ground water, sediment, pore water or surface water samples. Investigation is required to characterize the potential impacts and to design a remedy that will eliminate or control contamination from entering the stream or other water body.

Current regulations require a Responsible Party to investigate the potential contribution from their site even if the discharge is to an already known significantly impacted water body. This may include coordinating the investigation with NJDEP, EPA or other private entities.

Many of the State’s surface waters, especially in urban and industrial settings, have become contaminated by numerous point and non-point discharges, making it difficult to distinguish which contaminants are from a particular site or are attributable to background contamination or other regional sources of contamination. In these situations, remediation must be completed to documented background or regional source levels.

Link to the guidance document:

Alison Kokorsky

Project Manager

Image Credit: Cameron Blaylock

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