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DEP Privatizes Public Communication on Toxic Indoor Hazards

July 31st, 2012 1 comment

DEP Provides “Courtesy” Guidance to Polluters – Real “Customer Service”!

This is a DEP power point slide, presented on 4/13/10 at DEP Building

[Update: Compare NJ DEP privatization with US EPA approach to notifying the public - imagine that, EPA recommends "immediate" notification and face to face meetings" and "community meetings"

B.2 How should building owners or renters be notified of sampling results and whether a VI mitigation system is needed?

Generally, the site team should provide validated sampling results to property owners or renters within 30 days after the results have been received (EPA 1990b). Use of real-time or near-real time sampling, such as a field gas chromatograph/mass spectrometer (GC/MS) or Hapsite GC/MS, reduces the delay between the sampling event and receipt of initial results. In such cases, the building owner or renter can view the preliminary results almost immediately and receive the final results after data validation. A transmittal letter should indicate if any future actions are appropriate based on the sampling events. It is important to communicate to property owners and renters that the determination to install a VI mitigation system is based on a calculated risk, which reflects many conservative, health protective factors.

The initial notification to owners or renters that their home or building has been selected to receive a VI mitigation system can be delivered in various ways. A primary mechanism is a face-to-face meeting with the building owner or renter to explain the data results and discuss next steps, including installation of a system. Another mechanism is to use the data transmittal letter to provide the notification. In many cases, however, the decision to install mitigation systems will not have been made before the sampling results are transmitted. In these situations, data transmittal letters can be sent conveying the message that the EPA is reviewing all results for the affected area and is considering appropriate next steps. Once the decision document is signed, the site team can develop and mail a fact sheet to all community members in the affected area, followed by a community meeting. If mitigation systems are deemed appropriate, the site team should be prepared to explain the impacts of installing these systems in face-to-face meetings with the property owners or renters. These meetings should include a discussion of whether the property owner or renter will be responsible to pay the electrical cost to operate a mitigation system, which may range from $10 to $20 or more per month. Impacts including the need to remove basement contents to allow installation should also be discussed with the property owner or renter.

In a bizarre email that transmits the latest "courtesy" Guidance document in the bizarro NEW WORLD ORDER (AKA "Privatized Toxic Site Cleanup Program"), DEP is now teaching private consultants - AKA "mercenaries" who work for polluters - how to conduct "community outreach" and "communicate with the public" about testing the indoor air in homes, schools, daycare centers, and businesses.

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection has developed community outreach guidance for environmental consultants and responsible parties to use when performing vapor intrusion investigations. The community outreach guidance contains recommendations for communicating with the public when setting up sampling appointments, reporting results, and other vapor intrusion activities. The guidance is available at www.nj.gov/dep/srp/guidance/vaporintrusion.

Talk about the blind leading the blind.

Do you think these consultants have any incentive or interest in telling you the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth about the toxic chemicals their clients have exposed your family to?

Can you spell : c-o-n-f-l-i-c-t  of  i-n-t-e-r-e-s-t?

Does anyone remember company doctors that worked for the coal, asbestos, or chemical industries giving their workers a clean bill of health?

How would you feel if the lawyer for the company you just sued was in complete charge of providing all information to you?

Despite giving private consultants complete control over the creation and flow of information provided to the public, the DEP has been so neutered and in the pocket of polluters that they felt the need to stress the fact that the "courtesy" Guidance was purely voluntary and not a DEP mandate:

Please note that the template letters and tables are being provided as a courtesy and use of these templates is optional. If you choose to develop your own letters, please see the note at the bottom of the web page for information on how to communicate with the public.

In an historic first, DEP is now providing "courtesy" Guidance and voluntary options to toxic polluters!

Chris Christie and Bob Martin don't need no stink in' "command and control" regulations!

Now that's real "customer service"! Commissioner Martin must be thrilled (it's pretty clear who the "customer" being "served" is).

[Note: the intent of the legislation was to retain DEP oversight of complex and/or high risk cases. Because many vapor intrusion sites are "immediate environmental concern" and impact "sensitive receptors", they are inherently complex high risk cases. DEP is violating the intent of the law by allowing private LSRP's to manage these cases. Senator Smith and Assemblyman McKeon (prime sponsors), where is the Legislative oversight on this??]

But, giving polluters’ consultants total control over the content and flow of information and making sure that they are voluntary options provided as a courtesy is not all!

In two of the most egregious parts of this “courtesy” Guidance, DEP reveals both arrogance and bias.

First, the “courtesy” Guidance goes out of its way to advise polluters’ consultants of the availability of a huge loophole: blame the victim:

The list of common household sources of background indoor air contamination is available in Appendix H of NJDEP’s Vapor Intrusion Technical Guidance. Include this attachment when one or more of the compounds on this list is detected in the indoor air and believed to be due to a background source.

This “background source” loophole allows polluters’ consultants to blame things like carpets, household cleaning products, or even candles for the toxic chemicals detected in indoor air. DEP even gives them a list of the products to look for!

Second, DEP reveals their true technocratic arrogance in this “important note”:

It is important to note that NJDEP does not recommend providing the laboratory analytical data sheets to property owners as these are often too complicated for the lay person. Please use the template tables provided in Section II.

Let’s repeats that: data are “too complicated for the lay person” (sic). (boldface mine)

Got that? DEP thinks you’re just too stupid.

But somehow you know enough probability and statistics to understand Derek Jeter’s on base percentage and batting average compared with A-Rod’s slugging percentage and the opposing pitcher’s ERA – and whether a bunt or intentional walk is the best strategy in a one run game in the bottom of the eight with the leadoff man on first.

So, because it’s all too complicated, let me draw you pictures – try these, first from the sky and then from the ground (these are DEP’s own illustrations):

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Southwestern NJ in Drought Emergency

July 30th, 2012 No comments

DEP Scientists Quietly Classify Groundwater Conditions as “Extremely Dry”

Where Are DEP Mandatory Water Use Restrictions & Conservation Measures?

[Update #2 - Imagine that, the groundwater conditions just happen to be improving, and DEP's latest Aug 5 assessment goes out of tis way to show arrows pointing that out (something I don't recall ever seeing)

I think I'll file OPRA's to get the underlying data and analysis supporting these assessments - Isn't my skepticism of these "coincidental" improvements an indicator of DEP's loss of scientific credibility? That's what happens when you fudge the data analysis. end update#2]

Update: most recent July 29 DEP assessment - more regions of the state with severe dry stream flow and groundwater conditions – southwestern NJ “improves” somewhat. I would love to see the technical explanation for that – I suspect manipulation in response to the original post.  New assessments should be posted on Monday August 6.  end update]

DEP scientists recently classified groundwater conditions in southwestern NJ as “extremely dry” the equivalent of a drought “emergency” for areas reliant on groundwater (see green area in map above for impacted area).

I have some question for DEP based on that science – 8 specific questions.

1. Are residents in Mercer, Burlington, Camden, Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem Counties aware of that serious problem?

2. Why is drought status “normal” if groundwater conditions are “extremely dry”? (and rainfall and stream flow are well below normal too).

3. Have mandatory water use restrictions and water conservation measures been imposed for businesses and homes that use groundwater? If not, why not?

Or will people find out only after wells start to run dry?

4. Has DEP completely abdicated its responsibilities to plan for water supplies and to take the lead in drought management, as mandated by the NJ Water Supply Management Act? That law mandates:

The department shall prepare and adopt the New Jersey Statewide Water Supply Plan, which plan shall be revised and updated at least once every five years.

[Note: If case DEP forgot or needs guidance, see this:

NJSA 58:lA-2. Legislative findings and declarations.

The Legislature finds and declares that the water resources of the State are public assets ofthe State held in trust for its citizens and are essential to the health, safety, economic welfare, recreational and aesthetic enjoyment, and general welfare, of the people of New Jersey; that ownership ofthese assets is in the State as trustee ofthe people; that because some areas within the State do not have enough water to meet their current needs and provide an adequate margin of safety, the water resources of the State and any water brought into the State must be planned for and managed as a common resource from which the requirements ofthe several regions and localities in the State shall be met; that the present regulatory system for these water resources is ineffective and counterproductive; that it is necessary to insure that within each basin there exist adequate water supplies to accommodate present and future needs; that to ensure an adequate supply and quality of water for citizens of the State, both present and future, and to protect the natural environment of the waterways of the State, it is necessary that the State, through its Department of Environmental Protection, have the power to manage the water supply by adopting a uniform water diversion permit system and fee schedule, a monitoring, inspection and enforcement program, a program to study and manage the State's water resources and plan for emergencies and future water needs, and regulations to manage the waters of the State during water supply and water quality emergencies. 

5. Or has DEP privatized those responsibilities and functions, allowing private water companies to take charge, as in the recent Monmouth County disaster and water emergency caused by a major pipeline break?

6. Or has DEP delegated those responsibilities to local and county government - or outsourced them to corporate dominated private "sustainability" cover groups -  as they did in the Monmouth emergency? (see DEP website for the highly unusual reliance on County government and private water company). Does DEP think posting a county press release on the DEP website satisfies their responsibility under the Act?

July 1, 2012 State of Emergency Still in Effect in Monmouth County; Strict water conservation measures remain in effect; Boil water advisory reduced to 4 towns; all outdoor use banned (Monmouth County Press Release)
June 30, 2012 State of Emergency Still in Effect for Monmouth County; Strict Water Conservation Measures Remain Saturday; Boil Water Advisory Reduced to 22 Towns; All Outdoor Use Banned (Monmouth County Press Release)
June 29, 2012 State of Emergency Declared in Monmouth County; Strict Water Conservation Measures Put in Place; All Outdoor Use Banned; Boil Water Advisory Expands to Entire County (Monmouth County Press Release)

7. Where is the long overdue update to the Statewide Water Supply Master Plan? Why has DEP scrubbed its website regarding the prior plan? (which used to have these links:


WATER SUPPLY PLANNING
New Jersey Statewide Water Supply Plan (Pdf Format)
Planning document for water supply
August 1996
New Jersey Statewide Water Supply Plan Appendices (Pdf  Format)
Planning document for water supply
August 1996
New Jersey Statewide Water Supply Plan Executive Summary (Pdf Format)
Planning document for water supply
August 1996
New Jersey Statewide Water Supply Plan Map

That Plan would address these critical issues.

8. Where is the press corps, especially as we experience extreme weather record heat waves and drought conditions? Who will tell the people?

[Note: here are DEP powers and responsibilities:

58:1A-4. State of water emergency; emergency water supply allocation plan; powers ofGovernor and Commissioner; orders; review.

a. Upon a finding by the commissioner that there exists or impends a water supply shortage of a dimension which endangers the public health, safety, or welfare in all or any part of the State, the Governor is authorized to proclaim by executive order a state of water emergency. The Governor may limit the applicability of any state of emergency to specific categories of water supplies or to specific areas ofthe State in which a shortage exists or impends.

b. The department shall, within 180 days of the effective date of this act, adopt an Emergency Water Supply Allocation Plan as a rule and regulation. This plan shall be utilized as the basis for imposing water usage restrictions during a declared state of water emergency and shall include a priority system for the order in which restrictions would be imposed upon the various categories ofwater usage.

c. During the duration ofa state ofwater emergency the commissioner, to the extent not in conflict with applicable Federal law or regulation but notwithstanding any State or local law or contractual agreement, shall be empowered to:

(1) Order any person to reduce by a specified amount the use of any water supply; to make use of an alternate water supply where possible; to make emergency interconnections between systems; to transfer water from any public or private system; or to cease the use of any water supply;

(2) Order any person engaged in the distribution of any water supply to reduce or increase by a specified amount or to cease the distribution of that water supply; to distribute a specified amount of water to certain users as specified by the commissioner; or to share any water supply with other distributors thereof;

  1. (3)  Establish priorities for the distribution ofany water supply;
  2. (4)  Adopt rules and regulations as are necessary and proper to carry out the purposes of this section; and

(5) Direct any person engaged in the retail distribution of water to impose and collect a surcharge on the cost of that water as a penalty for the violation of any order to reduce water usage issued pursuant to this subsection. The disposition of all sums collected pursuant to this subsection shall be as provided by law; and

(6) Otherwise implement the Emergency Water Supply Allocation Plan adopted pursuant to subsection b. of this section.

Any order issued by the commissioner pursuant to this subsection shall be based upon fair compensation, reasonable rate relief and just and equitable terms, to be determined after notice and hearing which may occur subsequent to the order and compliance therewith.

d. During the existence of a state of water emergency, the Governor may order the suspension of any laws, rules, regulations, or orders of any department or agency in State Government or within any political subdivision which deal with or affect water and which impede his ability to alleviate or terminate a state ofwater emergency.

e. Any aggrieved person, upon application to the commissioner, shall be granted a review of whether the continuance of any order issued by the commissioner pursuant to this section is unreasonable in light of then prevailing conditions of emergency.

f. During a state of water emergency the commissioner may require any other department or other agency within State Government to provide information, assistance, resources, and personnel as shall be necessary to discharge his functions and responsibilities under this act, rules and regulations adopted hereunder, or applicable Federal laws and regulations....

58:1A-5. Supply and diversion of water; rules and regulations.

The commissioner shall have the power to adopt, enforce, amend or repeal, pursuant to the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c. 410 (C. 52:14B-1 et seq.) rules and regulations to control, conserve, and manage the water supply of the State and the diversions of that water supply to assure the citizens of the State an adequate supply of water under a variety of conditions and to carry out the intent of this act. These rules and regulations may apply throughout the State or in any region thereof and shall provide for the allocation or the reallocation of the waters of the State in such a manner as to provide an adequate quantity and quality ofwater for the needs ofthe citizens of the State in the present and in the future and may include, but shall not be limited to:

a. A permit system to allocate or reallocate any or all of the waters of the State, which system shall provide for the issuance of permits to diverters ofmore than 100,000 gallons per day of the waters ofthe State, containing at a minimum the conditions required by this act;

b. Standards and procedures to be followed by diverters to ensure that:

  1. (1)  Proper methods are used to divert water;
  2. (2)  Only the permitted quantity of water is diverted and that the water is only used for its permitted purpose;

(3) The water quality of the water source is maintained and the water standards for the use ofthe water are met;

(4) The department is provided with adequate and accurate reports regarding the diversion and use ofwater;

c. Inspection, monitoring, reporting and enforcement procedures necessary to implement and enforce the provisions ofthis act;

d. Standards and procedures to be followed to determine the location, extent and quality of the water resources of the State and plan for their future use to meet the needs of the citizens ofthe State; ...

58:1A-13. New Jersey Statewide Water Supply Plan.

a. The department shall prepare and adopt the New Jersey Statewide Water Supply Plan, which plan shall be revised and updated at least once every five years.

b. The plan shall include, but need not be limited to, the following:

(1) An identification of existing Statewide and regional ground and surface water supply sources, both interstate and intrastate, and the current usage thereof;

(2) Projections of Statewide and regional water supply demands for the duration of the plan;

(3) Recommendations for improvements to existing State water supply facilities, the construction of additional State water supply facilities, and for the interconnection or consolidation ofexisting water supply systems, both interstate and intrastate;

(4) Recommendations for the diversion or use of fresh surface or ground waters and saline surface or ground waters for aquaculture purposes;

(5) Recommendations for legislative and administrative actions to provide for the maintenance and protection ofwatershed areas;

(6) Identification of lands purchased by the State for water supply facilities that currently are not actively used for water supply purposes, including, but not limited to, the Six Mile Run Reservoir Site, with recommendations as to the future use of these lands for water supply purposes within or outside ofthe planning horizon for the plan; and

(7) Recommendations for administrative actions to ensure the protection of ground and surface water quality and water supply sources. ...

58:1A-13.3. Preparation, adoption of revisions, updates to New Jersey Statewide Water Supply Plan.

a. The department shall prepare and adopt appropriate revisions and updates to the current New Jersey Statewide Water Supply Plan no later than December 31, 2006 pursuant to the provisions of section 13 ofP.L.1981, c.262 (C.58:1A-13).  ...

58:1A-14. Inadequate supply available to water purveyor; order for development or acquisition; certification of amount in local budget.

a. When the department determines that the developed water supply available to a water purveyor is inadequate to service its users with an adequate supply ofwater under a variety of conditions, the department may order the water purveyor to develop or acquire, within a reasonable period oftime, additional water supplies sufficient to provide that service. ...

58:1A-15. Powers and duties.

[a-d]

e. Order the interconnection of public water supply systems, whether in public or private ownership, whenever the department determines that the public interest requires that this interconnection be made, and require the furnishing ofwater by means ofthat system to another system, but no order shall be issued before comments have been solicited at a public hearing, notice of which has been published at least 30 days before the hearing, in one newspaper circulating generally in the area served by each involved public water supply system, called for the purpose ofsoliciting comments on the proposed action.

f. Order any person diverting water to improve or repair its water supply facilities so that water loss is eliminated so far as practicable, safe yield is maintained and the drinking water quality standards adopted pursuant to the “Safe Drinking Water Act,” P.L.1977, c.224 (C.58:12A-1 et al.) are met;  …

58:1A-16. Violations of act; remedies.  

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“Stop the Frack Attack” – Washington DC Protest

July 29th, 2012 No comments

NY activists put the heat on NY Gov. Cuomo - thousands of these photos will be sent as postcards to Cuomo. I'm sure they'll have some resonance, as Cuomo contemplates higher office (7/28/12)

Yesterday, in another day of extreme weather sweltering 95 degree heat – contributing to the hottest July ever in Washington DC (breaking a record set just last July) – representatives of 138 groups from across the country held the first ever national anti-fracking rally: “Stop the Frack Attack”.

For me, it was the end of the “Tour De Frack” – (story and photos forthcoming!)

For more than 5,000 others who were there, the day was a sweat drenched inspiration.

Maya and Tracy, Delaware Riverkeeper Network.

NJ was well represented – event co-sponsor Maya Van Rossum and Tracy Carlucchio led the “Don’t Drill the Delaware” crowd from Delaware Riverkeeper Network.

They celebrated the perfectly timed Pennsylvania court decision which struck down the preemption of municipal land use controls over fracking in Act 13 as unconstitutional. (you can read the opinion here) 

[Update: oops! Just read the Court's opinion. Local preemption was NOT the ground upon which Act 13 was struck down as unconstitutional! More to follow on this very interesting and important legal decision.]

Sierra Club also was a co-sponsor and I saw several NJ Chapter members there.

Food & Water Watch commandeered an open deck tour bus, and charged the DC streets with  loud chants from the open deck, e.g. “Who’s’ Water? –  Our Water!”  -”Ban Fracking Now!” –  ”One, we are the People. Two, you can’t ignore us. Three, we will not let you poison our water!”

I had a blast riding the bus with F&WW Director Jim Walsh and other NY/NJ activist during the bus for the march portion of the event. We rode from the Capitol lawn to the corporate headquarters of the American Petroleum Institute and the National Gas Association.

But I spent the day with the folks I met out in Pittsburgh and other members of “Marcellusprotest.org”. Stop by and vista that web site for information, resources, and organizing tactics.

The Pittsburg people were the only group to arrive and march off the bus to the Capitol lawn in solidarity, with loud and well organized chants! They are one fired up, well informed,  and effective bunch of activists!

The Pittsburgh people joined the final speaker, Doug Shields former Pittsburgh Councilman – to highlight Pittsburgh’s fracking  ban, the first in the nation (watch the Pittsburgh story in Josh Fox’s latest short video: “The Sky is Pink”).

Shields was a fired up speaker, and the Pittsburgh people did a great job in closing out the speaker portion of the rally – ending just as loud and proud and fighting for justice as they arrived!

Here’s some scenes from the day:

Bill McKibben speaks at rally

Pittsburgh activists rock - from Left -film-maker Josh Fox, activist Ken Weir who's place I stayed at - Loretta Weir his wife is second from right. To her left is Mel Packer, a brilliant organizer and activist. Mel put me up for a night too

Pittsburgh folks arrive - and let people know they're there!

Scenes from the bus: Delaware Riverkeeper Network says: "Don't be fracking crazy!"

Jim Walsh (R) Food & Water Watch - chants from the bus kept folks fired up!

fracktivists converge on corporate HQ's

"Tour De Frack" - complete trip riders Ping (L) and Mike (R) - not shown are Tom (Occupy Pittsburgh and a professional photographer) and Jason, only those 4 riders completed the 400 mile journey

A message to President Obama, Congress and NY Gov. Cuomo.

And very few people are aware of scientific studies that suggest that natural gas has greenhouse warming potential that is greater than coal. The myth that natural gas is a “transition fuel” to clean renewable energy was a lie from day 1.

Few talk about the scientific studies that suggest that natural gas has a greenhouse gas warming potential possibly greater than coal.

Solutions:

Zero Carbon Transportation

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DEP Does Quick U-Turn on Barnegat Bay Delisting

July 27th, 2012 2 comments

After Scathing Criticism Disclosed, DEP Says Proposal to be Withdrawn

[Update: 7/30/12: Kick ass editorial in the Asbury Park Press:

The DEP proposal is so monumentally wrong-headed, it is simply flabbergasting. It is a combination of bad policy and bad science.

Gov. Chris Christie and the DEP say Barnegat Bay is a priority and are committing in excess of $100 million toward fixing the bay. Calling the bay “unimpaired” flies in the face of that commitment.

Aside from not giving credit to the source of the story (i.e. PEER), the editorial does make one important mistake.

The water monitoring methods and regulatory standards for dissolved oxygen that DEP used are developed and adopted by DEP, not EPA.

The NJ DEP has attempted to point the finger and blame EPA for this.

But a DEP spokesman said, essentially, that EPA rules are EPA rules. The state is following the rules. Therefore, the bay is not impaired.

The editorial printed that lie un-rebutted and by doing so, got that issue badly wrong.  - end update]

Update: 7/29/12 – Kirk Moore writes Asbury Park Press story that nails it, including printing my quote calling DEP out on their attempt to blame EPA:

Scientists raise alarm as state considers dropping parts of Barnegat Bay from pollution list

 

Why do New Jersey officials want to take northern Barnegat Bay off their list of troubled waters?

That’s the question raised by science advisers to the bay restoration effort. Moves to drop part of Barnegat Bay and its tributaries from a list of New Jersey polluted waters has raised alarms from the group, warning the state is using inadequate water test results to justify the change. …..

“They got caught cherry-picking” the oxygen data, said Bill Wolfe, a former DEP analyst now with the group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility. “The sampling criteria is DEP’s, not the EPA’s.”

Wolfe called the proposal to take the bay off the list “a regulatory sleight of hand” to delay firm limits on nutrient pollution, called total maximum daily loads or TMDLs, that the EPA wants for Barnegat Bay.

“This administration just doesn’t like regulation,” Wolfe said. Nutrient limits “would make the towns do more, it would force DEP to do more on stream buffers and open space, it would force them to pull back sewer-service areas” for development, he said. – end update]

Amazingly, just days after DEP formally submitted to US EPA a proposed delisting of Barnegat Bay from NJ’s “impaired waters” list, yesterday DEP did a U-turn and apparently has decided to withdraw the proposal.

Our disclosure of scientific criticism of that move surely forced DEP to avoid another huge embarrassment – as EPA was sure to reject the DEP’s proposal.

Reporting on our disclosures, Tom Johnson at NJ Spotlight quoted the DEP press office:

The DEP argued that the issue is more complex than that, saying the proposal was submitted to the EPA based on two years of “grab’’ samples which showed the portions of the bay designated for delisting were meeting federal standards. Still, the DEP is expected to gather more data on the bay’s health, according to Larry Hajna, a spokesman for the agency.

“In all likelihood, this proposal will be withdrawn,’’ Hajna said.

Note that DEP did not admit error, acknowledge that the Bay is “impaired”, and agree to reverse course and support a TMDL by placing the Bay on the 2 Year TMDL Priority List. Waters on that list are the State’s top priorities.

The fact that Barnegat Bay is NOT on that list proves that cleanup of the Bay is NOT a DEP priority.

Instead, DEP attempted to blame “grab sampling” methods and EPA federal standards for the DEP’s mistake.

But DEP is responsible for the sampling methods and water quality standards, not EPA.

DEP has known for many years that current NJ State water  quality monitoring methods and standards are flawed, particularly the dissolved oxygen standard and how compliance with that standard is measured in the field.

Yet, DEP has failed to fix those known problems – despite being provided a mechanism to do so under the federal Clean Water Act, known as the “Monitoring and Assessment Methods” document. DEP submits this document to EPA for approval every two years, as required by the federal Clean Water Act.

As we’ve written here countless times, if DEP were serious, they would take the following steps:

1) place existing Bay impairments on the 2102 “2 Year TMDL Priority Schedule”;

2) revise water quality monitoring and assessment methods to address biological indicators. Then formally adopt these revised methods as either a Technical Manual and/or submit them to EPA for approval under the Clean Water Act.

3) revise the existing sediment, nutrient, and eutrophication surface water water quality standards to reflect biologically based and enforceable numeric thresholds for impairment

4) fund and initiate a TMDL on the Bay and throughout the Bay watershed.

But DEP is not serious and they are playing regulatory and political games.

In this case they were caught red handed – a move that illustrates incompetence in high places and a total disregard for science and environmental law.

But despite being caught and agreeing to withdraw the impairment delisting proposal, they have not changed their disastrous course set by Governor Christie’s 10 Point Management Plan.

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Flemington Stinks Again – DEP Still Does Nothing

July 26th, 2012 1 comment

Johanna Farms Wastewater Plant Pollutes Town

Johanna Farms plant in Flemington NJ creates severe odor problems for neighbors

 

During the summer of 2010, we reported that:  Johanna Farms Flemington Plant Upset Causing Huge Odor Problems

During the summer of 2011, we again reported:  Stop the Stink in Flemington – Johanna Farms Plant Still Smells

And just this week, the Hunterdon County Democrat reported:

Pungent smell wafting from Johanna Foods returns, prompting complaints from neighbors

RARITAN TOWNSHIP — Every summer, like clockwork, the pungent smell returns, and this year is no different.

A foul odor has once again begun to emanate from Johanna Foods, which manufactures Tree Ripe orange juice, Ssips juices and La Yogurt at its plant in Raritan Township.

The smell has caused neighbors to complain to the county health department and state Department of Environmental Protection.

“This is a problem that happens every summer,” said resident Beth McGregor, who lives in the nearby Carriage Gates development. “It smells every morning. … You can’t open your windows. You can’t sit outside.”

Just imagine not being able to go outside due to the stink.

Despite hundreds of citizens complaints and a pattern of violations, DEP has done nothing to take enforcement action and mandate corrective action.

Years ago, DEP claimed that they would require modifications to the Johanna Farms wastewater treatment system, including making the system totally enclosed.

Yet years later, nothing has been done.

Maybe DEP Commissioner Bob Martin – who lives in tony Hopewell – should take a ride up to Flemington sometime.

Maybe some first hand experience would convince him of the need for his “customer friendly” DEP to take enforcement action.

Even “Businessman Bob” knows that investors don’t invest in towns that literally stink worse than a latrine.

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