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New Jersey Future Launches the New Jersey Stormwater Utilities Resource Center

September 4th, 2020 by

New Jersey Future developed a new one-of-a-kind tool to help localities determine if a stormwater utility is right for their communities. The New Jersey Stormwater Utilities Resource Center  is a one-stop-shop, housing technical legal and financial information, case studies, and helpful guidance on stormwater solutions, community process, and public engagement. Development of the resource center was guided by local engineers, utilities, attorneys, government officials, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection staff, and the Flood Defense Coalition, to ensure that it addresses local needs. 

It is no secret that New Jersey communities are experiencing stronger storms and greater rainfall than ever before, leading to increased flooding, pollution, and property damage. Citing over 50 years of data, the National Climate Assessment observed a 71% increase in the amount of precipitation falling in very heavy storm events in the northeastern United States. Echoing these findings, in 2018, New Jersey experienced its highest amount of rainfall on record. Corresponding stormwater issues continue to worsen, and localities are seeking cost-effective solutions to give their residents more peace of mind when it rains.

Stormwater utilities can help. In fact, over 1,700 communities, across 40 different states in the US, have created them. In March 2019, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed into law the Clean Stormwater and Flood Reduction Act, which gives local government entities the ability to establish stormwater utilities if they so choose. If established, stormwater utilities must collect fees based on the amount of stormwater a property generates. These utilities can be established municipalities, counties, groups of municipalities, and sewerage and improvement authorities. Fee revenue would be dedicated solely to stormwater management and could not be used for any other purposes, ensuring that the negative impacts of stormwater can be addressed.  

Nearby states, such as Pennsylvania and Delaware have experienced firsthand the positive impacts of employing a stormwater utility. Wilmington, DE Department of Public Works Commissioner Kelly Williams attributes vast improvements to establishing a stormwater utility: “By establishing a stormwater utility, Wilmington was able to directly address its stormwater issues while equitably distributing the cost of compliance and watershed protection. Without the utility, we would be struggling to give stormwater the priority it deserves.” Creating a utility can ensure a stronger, healthier, and safer community that rests easier when it rains.

To learn more and to stay informed about developments in stormwater utilities, connect with us here. For any questions about the resource center, or stormwater utilities in general, please feel free to contact Brianne Callahan  (bcallahanhatnjfuturedotorg)  .

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