Several good stories didn’t have pictures and a few good pictures didn’t have stories:
Several good stories didn’t have pictures and a few good pictures didn’t have stories:
I tried to select the best photos that fit the most important stories. It was quite a year. Hit the links above the pics for the text. Enjoy. (photos are mine, except for the graphics, as noted).
January – ” Persistent Agitation” – Pinelands Commission Rejects Christie’s Pipline
March – (dual)
April – (dual)
May – (triple)
June – triple:
Critical Low Stream Flows Have Declined Significantly in Last 20 Years
Town’s DEP Water Allocation Permit Allows Only 274,000 Gallons Per Day
Sewer Plan Calls For 600,000 Gallons Per Day
New Development Would Require An Additional 500,000 GPD Or More
Something odd is going on in the Crosswicks Creek watershed, as evidenced by dramatic reductions in stream flows.
Take a look at the critical stream low flows, and note how deeply they have declined in the last 20 years, by a remarkable and inexplicable 44% (1Q10) – 45% (7Q10), based on USGS data, presented in the applicant’s own analysis:
This is unusual and is strong evidence to suggest that something wrong is going on in the watershed – even DEP’s most recent 303(d) impairment list cites potential depletive/consumptive use or export of water from the watershed as a cause of water quality impairments in Crosswicks Creek. [Clarification: it is not clear whether it is export or imported water].
Groundwater elevations may be similarly declining.
The sewer plan would make both stream flows and groundwater elevations worse by pumping groundwater and then discharging it to the Crosswicks Creek for export out of the watershed.
Low flow conditions in the Crosswicks Creek are extremely important, because that’s when the stream is flowing so low – when stream temperatures and pollutant levels are higher and dissolved oxygen levels are lower – that fish and other aquatic life that depend on adequate flowing clean water in the stream are severely stressed and can die.
These declining low flows in the stream shine a very bright light on a basic flaw in the DEP’s proposed Plumsted sewer plant permit.
The DEP’s own water quality standards and NJPDES permit regulations require that water quality standards be met during these critical low flow conditions (when no dilution of sewer plant discharge is available) – see NJAC 7:9B-1 et seq. and NJAC 7: 14A-1 et seq.
Other DEP regulations require that no sewer plant permit can be issued unless and until a watershed based “water quality management plan” is adopted by Ocean County and the permit is consistent with the areawide WQMP, see NJAC 7:15 – 1 et seq.
A key requirement on the DEP WQMP regulations is consideration of whether there is adequate water supply available to support the wastewater flows in the sewer plant and the new development it would serve.
The proposed flow capacity of the permit is 600,000 gallons per day (GPD).
The Plumsted Municipal Utilities Authority (MUA) has a big math problem – their numbers are not even close to working.
As I said, let’s repeat: the DEP draft permit for the proposed new sewer plant is for 600,000 gallons per day (GPD).
As I wrote previously, the is significantly more capacity than necessary to serve current existing development, plus the proposed new 400 – 600 unit retirement development.
That accounts for less than 300,000 GPD of the 600,000 GPS in the draft permit.
But Plumsted MUA’s DEP water allocation permit only provides 274,000 GPD of water supply. Here is the well permit data from DEP’s approved Source Water Assessment for the PMUA wells:
The sewer plan is not approvable under DEP regulations as a result of this failure to identify adequate water supply to meet wastewater permit flows.
Specifically, DEP water quality management regulations (NJAC 7:15 – 1 et seq.) require that municipalities conduct a “Build out” analysis of development allowed under local zoning. Counties are required to consolidate local build out and water supply and wastewater demands and capacity in County Water Quality Management Plans.
An important element of the local build out analysis is an estimate of the amount of water supply required to serve the amount of development allowed under local zoning.
Ocean County planning, Plumsted Township, and DEP have failed miserably to develop a workable plan that can be approved by DEP under DEP regulations.
In addition to DEP, it is unlikely that their current plans could obtain required approvals of the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) who must approve new sewer plants and water withdrawals from the basin, particularly in light of the unexplained decline in stream low flows.
There is no way the current DEP proposed permit 600,000 GPD flow can be approved.
There will need to be at least 2 more water supply wells drilled to provide the additional 300,000+ GPD flows to supply water for the planned capacity of the treatment plant and new development it would serve.,
The Plumsted MUA knows about this but is not telling the public.
The first thing not being explained to the public is the DEP requirement and failure to secure an Ocean County Wastrewater Management Plan amendment: ( see PMUA 9/16 minutes)
Mr. Ylvisaker said the critical issue was getting the NJDEP pre-permit by October 1st and hopefully having the surface water discharge permit by the end of the year. This is problematic as the permit cannot be issued until the County Wastewater Management Plan is approved.
But more importantly, local officials know they need to drill new water supply wells, and that DEP and/or DRBC may not approve.
Take a look at the August PMUA minutes:
Even more significantly, look at all the problems with new water supply wells discussed during the July PMUA meeting:
Executive Director Report: Mr. Ylvisaker updated the members on NJ American Water’s (NJAW) plans regarding the new wells in town. He indicated NJAW is pursuing the purchase of a private property adjacent to the Verizon building on Lakewood Road for the third well. The third well is scheduled to be in operation by the spring of 2016. NJAW has not finalized their decision or committed to construct the fourth well which will be necessary to serve the PRRC development. He noted this was in part due to whether the site for the third well could support a fourth well. This information will not be known until NJAW completes pumping tests at the site.
Mr. Dancer said that with respect to the meeting with BPU and NJAW, the issue had come up regarding whether American Water had a current and valid franchise to the Township and whether NJAW has been responsive in providing for the needs for water within the Town Center. Based on this, he felt that the discussion on the fourth well, and who pays for it is needed. Mr. Bronson also noted that American Water needs to have the fourth well permitted but did not have to invest in it until it is known what was being built. It was felt if they were already applying for the third well, they should also pursue allocation for the fourth well as well. Mr. Dancer said, as he understood it, the PRRC could not be done without the fourth well. Attorney McGuckin said the fourth well is a critical issue and steps should be taken to resolve this issue. Attorney McGuckin felt a letter should be sent to NJAW confirming our understanding regarding their financing the third well and NJAW’s plans to include a fourth well in their well tests and permitting to NJDEP.
Mr. Dancer reviewed the Bureau of Water Allocation notice to the Township on July 9th regarding an application by the Joint Base for approval of plans to divert 155 million gallons of water per month and 1.860 million gallons of water per year from 15 existing and 2 new wells. The notice states the diversion is to be used for public water supply. Mr. Ylvisaker was asked to look in to this to make sure Plumsted would not be negatively impacted.
Plumsted MUA and local officials know that they face huge regulatory hurdles from DEP, the DRBC, BPU, and possibly the Pinelands Commission regarding possible water supply.
How much will these new water wells costs local consumers?
Why are they putting the sewer plant cart before the water supply and planning horse – which is exactly what DEP regulations are designed to prevent?
As proposed, the sewer plan is not remotely ready for prime time.
It must be withdrawn.
Stealth Provision of Meadowlands Consolidation Bill On Gov.’s Desk Would Virtually Destroy Liberty State Park
I find it almost incomprehensible that an issue of this magnitude could remain under the radar and not a matter of public debate. ~~~ Bill Wolfe (on open space ballot parks cuts)
Emergency Bulletin from Sam Pesin, President, Friends of Liberty State Park:
The Act gives the keys to LSP to the autonomous MRC and takes the keys away from DEP and the public. The MRC will be pressured by developers, promoters and misguided officials to turn LSP into a COMMERCIAL VENUE CASH COW TO RAISE REVENUE and will ignore LSP’s true purpose as a free park for the quality of life for urban people and the free enjoyment by visitors from around NJ and our nation. The MRC will feel no responsibility to protect public access to LSP, a great urban open space family park with spectacular views of Lady Liberty, NYC and the harbor and for picnics, playgrounds, gardens, walking/bicycling/jogging,& ferries to Lady Liberty/ Ellis Island.
Governor, please stand up for LSP and tell the legislature to take LSP out of the Act.
This is unbelievable – even for corrupt NJ politics.
I just got wind over the weekend from Sam Pesin that the Hackensack Meadowlands Consolidation Act that was rammed through the legislature just days before Christmas includes a provision that would transfer powers and effective control over Liberty State Park to the new consolidated entity (see this new power in section 19 on page 26):
m. Evaluate, approve, and implement any plan or plans for the further preservation, development, enhancement, or improvement of Liberty State Park and the buildings, structures, properties, and appurtenances related thereto, or incidental to, necessary for, or complimentary to the park. The commission may avail itself of any plans under review by the Department of Environmental Protection from any source that may promote expanded and diverse recreational, cultural, and educational opportunities for visitors to Liberty State Park and provide greater access to park facilities. Any approved plans shall constitute a project of the commission, and shall be adopted as part of the master plan;
This is a complete disgrace.
It is a formula for effective commercialization and turning the park into a commercial cash cow.
It goes way, way beyond the recent efforts by Governor Christie to generate revenues at the Park, see:
The recent Open Space ballot Question #2 stripped all State Park’s lease and concessions revenues, some $3.8 million per year in revenues that are used to support park operating budgets. Liberty State Park was particularly hard hit by that, with loss of about $800,000 per year in parking and pavilion fee revenues.
I guess that now fee revenues are gone, those that seek to commercialize and privatize our state parks want to go all the way and strip the crown jewel from NJ’s parks system out of DEP State Park Service control entirely.
As Sam Pesin notes:
Assembly Bill 3969 ( & Senate Bill 2647) with the Page 26 LSP amendment deviously, outrageously and shamefully snuck in at the last minute were fast-tracked, passing within 11 days with final votes right before Christmas on 12/22. This is Putin-style government – obscenely stealing LSP and attacking the Public’s broad public consensus for a free and green park – and attacking the Public Good for this priceless treasure- the jewel in the crown of NJ – a Sacred Park – sacred as it is scarce urban open space and is right behind Lady Liberty. Most likely, most legislators were not even aware of the LSP amendment
The ACT GIVES FINAL SAY IN ALL PLANNING AND DECISION-MAKING for LSP TO AUTONOMOUS MRC AND TAKES AWAY THE FINAL SAY FROM THE DEP’T OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AND ITS DIVISION OF PARKS AND FORESTRY AND FROM THE PUBLICAS THERE IS ZERO MENTION OF PUBLIC PARTICIPATION, PUBLIC HEARINGS OR PUBLIC COMMENT.
We urge the Governor to give a conditional veto of this Act until LSP is taken out of it to protect LSP by leaving its decisions to the DEP and its Division of Parks and Forestry and the public and to prevent a new LSP era with constant negative, wasteful battles – as the park was a sacred battleground from the time it opened in 1976 when a theme park was pushed until 2003 when the LSP Development Corporation was ended after 20 years of causing statewide battles against a golf course, waterpark, etc.
This is really dirty – I researched the legislative history and could not even find fingerprints on who introduced this stealth outrage and why it was done.
Call the Governor now at 609-292-6000 and demand that he conditionally veto the Liberty State Park amendment from the Hackensack Meadowlands Consolidation Act bill now on his desk.
The bill is on the Governor’s desk – we are watching.
Elimination of Local Voter Approval Also A Political Test For Christie’s 2016 Ambitions
Water Privatization Scheme Comes With a Political Price
“This is such a bad deal for the citizens of New Jersey. This is crazy… just giving away our water supply.” State Sen. Bob Smith (D-Middlesex).
I don’t think the Governor cares about NJ and Senator Smith’s criticisms, but the controversial water infrastructure privatization bill now on Governor Christie’s desk contains 2 right-wing litmus test provisions that pose a political challenge for the Governor that I’m sure he does care about.
Section 9 of the bill requires that labor receive prevailing wage.
In the Assembly State and Local Government Committee hearing on the bill, the two Republicans on that Committee grilled witnesses on the prevailing wage issue. They both opposed the bill on that ground and voted against it.
Republican base primary voters in Iowa and New Hampshire sure don’t like what the view as government mandates that support “union thugs”.
The bill also would eliminate the current requirement for local voter approval of any privatization scheme.
Even one of NJ’s most conservative Senators and ALEC representative, Sussex County Republican Senator Oroho opposed that:
New Jersey Herald – Dec 16, 2014A Sussex Borough councilwoman is concerned about how fast a bill called … a nonprofit advocacy group, to speak against water privatization at past …Oroho previously said that he would not vote for bill that would strip away .
Again, Republican base voters support home rule and voter referenda, so Christie would pay a political price for that in any 2016 Presidential primary bid.
So, just how bad does Christie want his privatization scheme?
As I’ve written, the Sweeney Democrats did Christie’s dirty work on that, and tried to appease their labor friends with the prevailing wage and right of first refusal provisions.
And there is no doubt the bill has the behind the scenes support of and will be signed by Gov. Christie as a key feature in the Governor’s Privatization policy initiative (see:
But I was thinking about the policy, not the politics.
In that regard, because the bill would strip BPU’s ability to review the contract of sale of the public water system to determine if it is reasonable, the bill is also consistent with the Governor’s deregulatory policy.
In his first hour in office, Governor Christie issued:
While the water privatization bill is part of the Gov.’s right wing privatization and deregulatory policy, still, the current politics may influence what the Governor does with the bill.
Personally, I would love it if he CV’d the prevailing wage, right of first refusal, and voter approval and sent it back to the Democrats in the Legislature.
Surely, that would kill it.
[PS – Note To Senator Smith: I felt the same way about your bill that privatized toxic site cleanup – crazy.]