Hundreds Protest Christie In Connecticut

July 22nd, 2014 No comments

Christie Ducks Protesters at Private Gated Millionaire’s Compound

Christie “Not Welcome In Connecticut”

"Not Welcome in Connecticut

“Not Welcome in Connecticut”

This was no stage managed Christie Town Hall.

Gov. Christie’s fundraiser at an exclusive private gated compound in Connecticut yesterday was jolted by hundreds of protesters, who set up a gauntlet along what protesters thought was the only entrance route to the exclusive compound.

But, in a cowardly move that perfectly echoed his veto of gun safety legislation, Christie took the back door into his Billionaire’s Boys fundraiser and, showing his arrogance and contempt for democracy, evaded the signs and chants of protesters: “Not One More!”

Christie's suburban skulks in the billionaire's back door

Christie’s suburban skulks in the billionaire’s back door

The location, far from the “sacrifice zones” in his home state, was the perfect backdrop to illustrate the the warped priorities of the Gov. – a man that manufactures a budget crisis by providing $2 billion in welfare to corporations while cutting pension contributions, education, and social programs, is right at home in a private gated community of the 0.01 percent, hosted by a hedge fund manager Vulture Capitalist.

[Perhaps a reporter - just one - could ask Gov. Christie, specifically, just how those billionaire hedge fund managers - i.e Vulture Capitalists - and Wall Street financiers - i.e. speculators and fraudster who took down the economy - "create jobs".  Make the Gov. defend his discredited trickle down austerity policy with some evidence.]

The attempt by Christie to promote his national political aspirations in Connecticut was also a deeply painful insult to many, in the wake of the Sandy Hook elementary school slaughter.

While the political issue that brought out protesters was gun safety and outrage over Gov.’s Christie’s veto of a bill that would restrict high capacity magazine clips that facilitate mass slaughters like that went on in Connecticut’s nearby Sandy Hook school, there were other important – let’s say “non-trivial” – political implications of the large protest of Christie.

[Perhaps an intrepid reporter - just one - could ask the Gov. why he feels that legislation to stop the slaughter of children in schools is "trivial". Make him defend his own veto and disgusting rhetoric.]

The protest hopefully will begin the process of puncturing the Christie media myth and narrative as a candidate that is warmly embraced on the campaign trail in other states as a moderate, bi-partisan, “strong leader” and “straight shooter” (no pun intended).

Christie needs to receive many more of these kind of pushback protests, in every state – including his own – that he visits in his quest for the Republican Presidential nomination for 2016. Bird dog the bastard!

If every single issue group harmed by Christie’s policies were to organize similar Christie “welcomes” in every state he visits, then maybe the media would begin to look at his record and accurately portray the Gov.’s miserable record, and not simply echo and reinforce the narrative the Gov. is trying to build.

The Gov. is bowing to deeply unpopular special interests – the Billionaire’s, the corporations and polluters, the NRA, etc – in a cynical attempt to court the Republican wing nut base, who vote heavily in Republican primary states.

Second, the crowd was composed of what appeared to be a good fraction of upscale and clearly moderate people. When these folks start taking to the streets in protest, that sends a strong message to others that are similarly outraged by the rightward political shift in this country, and is a source of optimism that movement politics are surging.

Something to build on – take a look at the scene:

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This is What a “Sacrifice Zone” Looks Like

July 19th, 2014 No comments

I Entered “Some Kind of Environmental Hell”

THIS PROPERTY CONDEMNED

Under the cities lies a heart made of ground
But the humans will give no love. ~~~ “A Horse With No Name”  America (1972 – listen)

 

Chris Hedges has written and spoken about places he calls “sacrifice zones” -(in addition to hitting those links, you should watch Bill Moyers’ interview before proceeding with this post).

We have another nomination for that odious distinction.

I closed my last post about the Troy Chemical Superfund site with a photo and caption that contrasted Troy’s lush suburban corporate office park headquarters in Morris County with the conditions of their workers in urban Newark, NJ.

So, today, we take a look at those Newark conditions I observed while visiting the Troy Chemical facility.

The full experience requires far more than a mere look at these photos: the place assaults not just the visual perception, but senses of smell, taste, hearing, feeling, and the moral conscience.

I’m no writer or artist, but the scene was out of Dante or Blake or Bosch – surely beyond the “dark satanic mills” industrial nightmare.

I simply could not take photos of the people I saw.

For to do so would dehumanize, humiliate, and shame them for the utterly deplorable conditions imposed on them – as they emerged from sleeping in their cars, labored in oppressive heat and pollution, or gathered socially in rubble strew abandoned and toxic landscapes that served as makeshift parks and “public” places. Green Acres, not.

The first thing I noticed as I got off the highway and onto local roads was the terrifying assault of noise and fumes from the low flying landing jets and the constant barrage of trucks.

The air was almost moist with the sweet nauseating fumes of organic chemicals.

As I drove at 15 mph (the maximum speed on what passed for a paved road could safely handle) with the windows down, breathing the odors of the huge sewage plant was almost an improvement, as its musky smell masked the organic chemicals and choking truck fumes.

As I parked the car in abandoned lot and walked around, fearing that it might be stolen and that I might get shot, the heat blasting down from the sun and reflecting back up from the pavement and the dust from the rubble strew beyond pothole pocked local roads was oppressive.

Huge 2 – 3 foot mounds and depressions almost made driving a car impossible in places.

Construction debris, piles of soil, and junk of all sorts was disposed of randomly by the roadside.

Mountains of stacked cargo crates towered – adjacent to impromptu landfills of so called “recyclable” debris.

Stagnant waters, swamps, and mudflats gave off a stench that could make a person wretch.

Abandoned grafitti marked industrial buildings crumbled – not even the homeless squatted there.

The place I was at was not some third world country – but in the heart of the largest city in one of the richest States in one of the wealthiest countries of the world.

But amid the chaos and debris and human depravity I could not even photograph, I noticed that the light poles had solar arrays.

Welcome to Newark, NJ – portions of the place I’ve previously written about as “the worst place in NJ – Toxic Torture -

I heard that DEP is looking to enforce illegal waste disposal, so take a look (or is DEP only interested in the pretty places? Do DEP enforcement people ever even wander into this neighborhood down these mean streets?):

Note: belated hat tip to Piri Thomas, whose great book of that title I read in Junior High School, along with the poetry of Amiri Baraka, the recently deceased father of the current Newark Mayor, who back then was called LeRoi Jones:

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hell7THIS PROPERTY CONDEMNED

 

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Legislature’s Environmental Committees To Hold Annual Shore Hearing On Monday

July 19th, 2014 No comments

The NJ Senate and Assembly Environmental Committees will hold their joint annual hearing on the shore on Monday at 10 am in Toms River municipal building, see this for the hearing agenda.

There are plenty of important shore issues to consider, most obviously:

  • Gov. Christie’s failed Sandy redevelopment policies
  • DEP’s massive rule proposal that would rewrite 30 years of shore protection regulations that invite more development to hazardous locations while ignoring climate change and sea level rise
  • Gov. Christie’s failed “10 Point Management Plan” for Barnegat Bay and its continued ecological decline
  • Gov. Christie’s failure to move forward with off shore wind development
  • The need to finance infrastructure and enforce illegal “Combined Sewer Overflow” discharges
  • The need to develop a Climate Change Adaptation Plan
  • The need for a Coastal  Managent Plan & Coastal Commission (pending Barnes legislation)
  • Ocean acidification and climate change impacts on oceans, bays, and natural resources
  • declining ecosystem health due overfishing, pollution, and habitat loss
  • pending proposals to promote off shore oil and gas drilling and LNG export
  • need to impose NJPDES permit nutrient controls on inland and shore waste water discharges that are causing dead zones, harmful algal blooms, and low dissolved oxygen levels in coastal waters

I’m sure you have additions to this list. I hope they don’t include beach litter cleanup or fake bicycle lanes or planting native vegetation along $250 million highways in flood hazard zones (and those that typically tout NJ’s favorable performance on beach bacteria closure should look at the new EPA standards and hold DEP officials accountable to that).

Please turn out on Monday, and let legislators and Governor Christie know how you feel.

In addition to several prior detailed letters on issues on the agenda and proposed amendments to the bills pending, I just fired off this quick notes to friendly Committee members - I’m a 1 man operation and did what I could do. (see below)

Now if the shore groups (ALS, COA, Save Barnegat Bay, Surfrider, NJEF, Sierra) work as hard on generating a huge turnout for this hearing on Monday, backed up with strong testimony, we might make some progress.

From: “Bill” <bill_wolfe@comcast.net>
To: senbsmith@njleg.org, aswspencer@njleg.org, sengreenstein@njleg.org, sencodey@njleg.org, asmmckeon@njleg.org, asmwisniewski@njleg.org, asmbenson@njleg.org
Cc: kduhon@njleg.org
Sent: Saturday, July 19, 2014 10:56:22 AM
Subject: Editorial: Apathy Killing Barnegat Bay – MONDAY SHORE HEARING

Dear Legislators:

First, I thought this editorial and news story from the Asbury Park Press and the PEER press release they were based on would be of interest regarding Barnegat Bay.

Second, I also provide an Asbury Park Press story on the new DEP coastal management rule proposal. I urge, at a minimum, that you conduct legislative hearings on the proposal, which is seriously flawed.

An absolutely perfect set up for Monday’s joint environmental committee’s legislative hearing on the shore.

I would be glad to respond to any questions you may have.

Respectfully,

Bill Wolfe, Director, NJ PEER

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The Christie DEP Media Spin versus the Science and Regulatory Reality

July 18th, 2014 No comments

DEP Has Failed To Meet Any Commitments Made On Barnegat Bay Nutrient Pollution

Documents Show That Gov. Christie’s “Commitment” is A Sham

This abuse happens all the time – the media get totally spun by DEP about science and regulatory issues.

And this example is about as clear cut as it gets. Follow below how I compare the press release spin with the exact same issues in regulatory documents.

Let’s begin our story with Governor Christie’s ” commitment” to Barnegat Bay, expressed in a May 4, 2010 press release:

Governor Chris Christie has made a commitment to determine the best approach to address the ecological health of the bay and to consider how to deal with effects on the bay of cooling systems at the Oyster Creek nuclear power plant.

Now, one year later, here is the Christie DEP’s spin on Barnegat Bay, in a July 20, 2011 press release where DEP was demonstrating their “new” water monitoring network to reporters:

The Christie Administration is committed to the ecological restoration of Barnegat Bay,” Commissioner Martin said. “The data collected by this network will provide the foundation for the development of appropriate water quality standards for the bay. At the same time, this research will enable us to focus policies and resources to make sure that we are addressing the complex problems the bay faces as effectively and quickly as possible.”

Keep in mind that everyone agrees that Barnegat Bay water quality and the “ecological restoration” the Gov. is allegedly committed to are driven by nutrient pollution – which includes nutrients   phosphorus and nitrogen, but nitrogen is the primary pollutant of concern in salt water.

So lets look at the DEP scientific and regulatory exchange with EPA – a tougher audience than news reporters – regarding how the data collected by that monitoring network is analyzed and applied in federal Clean Water Act regulatory programs – with a laser beam focus on Barnegat Bay nutrients.

First, let’s look at the 2012 Water Quality Assessment Methods Document adopted by DEP in July 2012, 1 year AFTER this press event:

Barnegat Bay: The Department, in cooperation with Barnegat Bay stakeholders, has initiated a comprehensive study of the Barnegat Bay Estuary and its tributaries that will provide water quality data to determine the locations and extent of water quality impairment. The Department is currently developing indexes to assess biological health and other methods for identifying the causes and sources of water quality impairment within the watershed, with the goal of developing watershed-specific nutrient criteria. Additional information about this effort is available on the Department’s Web site at http://www.state.nj.us/dep/barnegatbay/plan- wqstandards.htm. Because of its priority status, the Barnegat Bay initiative is proceeding on a different timeline than the 2012 303(d) List, which must be submitted to USEPA by April 2012. The Department will still include the Barnegat Bay in its statewide assessment of water quality for 2012; however, that assessment will be based primarily on concentrations of dissolved oxygen, levels of pathogenic bacteria, and other relevant data, as described in the 2012 Methods Document. This assessment will also utilize the extensive water monitoring data collected in Barnegat Bay and the tributaries throughout 2011 as part of this priority initiative. New assessment methods developed for the Barnegat Bay will be proposed for public review and comment separately from the draft 2012 Methods Document and, once those new methods are finalized, they will be employed to assess the waters of the Barnegat Bay Watershed. The Department expects the water quality assessment of the Barnegat Bay to be completed by 2013.

So, the DEP basically excluded Barnegat Bay from the 2012 assessment and impairment listing process, but promised to fix all that by 2013.

Not only that, they got caught trying to delist the northern portion of the Bay for low dissolved oxygen levels without adequate justification, according to EPA.

The DEP also took lots of strong criticism on the 2012 Methods document – from EPA and the Pinelands Preservation Alliance – about how the DEP’s water quality standards, nutrient policies, and assessment methods applied to Barnegat Bay’s problems – basically, commenters took the Department to task because they do not apply to Barnegat Bay, a criticism that the DEP confirmed, see this DEP response to comments:

Section 4.4: Assessment of Nutrient Impacts

25. Comment: The proposed method for assessing nutrient impacts continues to ignore estuarine waters such as Barnegat Bay and should be amended before adoption. The current narrative standard for nitrogen can and should be applied now to estuary waters and evaluated in light of impacts such as sea grass declines and harmful algal blooms. The Methods document should include a description of how the Department will apply existing data on aquatic life to the narrative nutrient criteria provision.

26. Comment: In December of 2010, the NJDEP adopted the revisions to its narrative nutrient criteria making it applicable to all waters of the State. The first sentence of the paragraph should read as follows: “The SWQS include narrative nutrient criteria that apply to all waters of the State”. (EPA)

Response to Comments 25 and 26: The Department has revised Section 4.4 to indicate that the narrative nutrient criteria apply to all waterbody types; however, the Department has developed a method to evaluate nutrient impacts only in freshwater wadeable streams. The titles of Section 4.4 and Table 4.4 have been revised to make that clear. Until assessment methods and thresholds are developed for lakes, estuaries, ocean waters, and non-wadeable rivers, and incorporated into the Methods Document, no assessments will be made to determine whether the narrative nutrient criteria is met for those waters. 

Got that? Let’s repeat it for good measure:

Until assessment methods and thresholds are developed for lakes, estuaries, ocean waters, and non-wadeable rivers, and incorporated into the Methods Document, no assessments will be made to determine whether the narrative nutrient criteria is met for those waters. 

Wow – DEP flat out admitted that nutrient criteria are meaningless because DEP lacks methods to monitor and assess and enforce them!

But, they said that Gov. Christie is committed to the ecological health of Barnegat bay and the they will fix all these problems “by 2013″.

So, now that were’ past 2013, let’s look at the 2014 draft Water Quality Assessment Methods Document to see how deficiencies documented in the 2012 cycle were remedied and whether DEP honored the specific commitments they made. DEP said, by 2013, they would:

  • provide the foundation for the development of appropriate water quality standards for the bay
  • provide water quality data to determine the locations and extent of water quality impairment
  • develop indexes to assess biological health and other methods for identifying the causes and sources of water quality impairment within the watershed
  • develop watershed-specific nutrient criteria
  • develop nutrient assessment methods and thresholds for lakes, estuaries, ocean waters, and non-wadeable rivers

Did DEP meet ANY of these commitments? Any single one? Did they apply them in the 2014 cycle?

The answer is a RESOUNDING NO TO EACH AND EVERY ONE.

Th DEP didn’t even try. The didn’t even allocate adequate resources to meet the commitments.

So let’s look at what DEP has done in the 2014 cycle -

Remarkably, in addition to not meeting the 2012 commitments and those of the Governor, they actually made the situation worse.

First, DEP excludes most if not all of the data collected by the “new” monitoring network they touted back in 2011:

The 2014 303(d) List will be developed using all appropriate and readily available data collected between January 1, 2008 and December 31, 2012 in accordance with a Quality Assurance Program Plan (QAPP) approved by the Department or EPA and uploaded into the Department’s Water Quality Data Exchange (WQDE) system at http://www.nj.gov/dep/wms/wqde, USEPA’s STORET data warehouse, or the USGS National Water Information System (NWIS) by July 1, 2013.

Most obviously. Rutgers’ study by Dr. Kennish – although it as “in accordance with a Quality Assurance Program Plan approved by the Department” –  is not final and will not be considered.

[Note to Littoral Society: DEP does not accept "citizen" data - read the excerpt above. Water quality data must in "accordance with a Quality Assurance Program Plan (QAPP) approved by the Department or EPA". That rules out your app and citizen data. Citizens and apps can not replace government regulators.]

Second, DEP even failed to commit sufficient resources so that they could apply the new monitoring and assessment approach they touted:

In 2010, the Department initiated the Barnegat Bay Ten-Point Action Plan as a model approach for water quality assessment and restoration on a regional basis, to be replicated throughout New Jersey. …

Since the degree of rigor that could be applied in Step 2 of the 2012 Integrated Assessment was limited because it was applied on a statewide basis with limited resources and time; starting with the 2014 cycle, the comprehensive assessment will be applied more thoroughly, with the focus on a selected region.

Third, since nutrients are the critical pollutants of concern in Barnegat Bay, let’s look at DEP water quality nutrient standards apply, how they assess the nutrient standard in 2014.

Nutrients: The SWQS include narrative nutrient criteria that apply to all freshwaters of the State, in addition to the applicable numeric criteria for phosphorus. The narrative nutrient criteria prohibit nutrient concentrations that cause objectionable algal densities, nuisance aquatic vegetation, or render waters unsuitable for designated uses. Biological data, along with continuous dissolved oxygen, pH, and Chlorophyll a data (where available) are used as translators of the narrative nutrient criteria, as explained in Section 4.4. 

That’s right. DEP actually made this worse than the 2012 Report, where is response to comments 25 & 26 (from EPA) DEP stated that the narrative nutrient standard technically applied to all waters (including Barnegat bay), but that DEP just didn’t have the tools to measure compliance with and enforce those standards.

Now, DEP is not even making that concession. DEP now says the narrative nutrient criteria applies only to freshwaters. They don’t even say that the nutrient narrative criteria technical applies to Barnegat bay and other salt and estuaries waters, but can’t be enforced to due a lack of assessment methods.

So, let’s be clear: DEP does not have a numeric standard for nutrient impacts and worse, DEP’s narrative nutrient standard does not apply to Barenegat Bay!  And there are no assessment methods or thresholds for lakes, estuaries, ocean waters, and non-wadeable rivers.

That’s like saying the 65 mph speed limit does not apply to the Turnpike! There’s not even  ”don’t go too fast” “narrative standard for the speed limit. There is no fucking limit at all!

DEP Math:

(No applicable water quality standards) + (no assessment methods)  = no impairment and TMDL problems!

But that can’t be right – let’s now go to Section 4.4. and see what it says:

Well, the title of Section 4.4 makes it pretty clear the the narrative nutrient standard does not apply to Barnegat Bay – and even for wadeable freshwater streams it is unenforceable and virtually meaningless:

4.4 Assessment of Nutrient Impacts in Freshwater Streams    

…  Numeric criteria are not currently defined in terms of the frequency and duration that the criterion could be exceeded and still support a healthy aquatic community. Defining the best means to interpret the numeric criteria and/or refining the criteria is an ongoing task as set forth in the Department’s Nutrient Criteria Enhancement Plan, which is available on the Department’s Web site at http://www.state.nj.us/dep/wms/bwqsa/nutrient_criteria.htm.

Ongoing task?  Right.

Governor’s commitment?

Only in the press releases.

That’s a real commitment by Gov. Christie, eh?

 

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EPA Finds NJ DEP’s Water Quality Report Has “Significant Data Gaps” – Rejects DEP’s Attempt To “Delist” Dozens of Rivers & Streams, Including Attempt to Erase Barnegat Bay Impairments

July 18th, 2014 No comments

EPA Finds NJ Lagging In Submitting TMDLs for “High Priority Waters”

DEP Lacks Scientific Justification for Numerous Delistings

The Clean Water Act requires that State’s assess the quality of all State waterbodies to determine whether they meet water quality standards designed to assure that they are fishable and swimmable and support aquatic life.

Waters that fail to meet standards must be listed as “impaired” and subject to an enforceable regulatory cleanup plan known as a “TMDL”, for Total Maximum Daily Load”, commonly called a “pollution budget”.

State’s must submit this Section 303 (d) impaired waters list for review and approval by the US EPA every two years.

Here’s what we said about the NJ DEP’s most recent 2012 Report to EPA, which attempted to delist the Barnegat Bay:

Trenton — In a regulatory sleight of hand, the Christie Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has proposed to remove the ailing Barnegat Bay from the official list of water bodies slated for remedial action in the next two years. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) proposal to remove Barnegat Bay from the 2012 list of impaired waters flies in the face of a recent Rutgers University study that found the Bay on the verge of ecological collapse.  If approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the effect will be disastrous for Barnegat Bay’s future viability, according to Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). …

All of the ecological trends in Barnegat Bay are pointing downwards and this critical water body may soon reach a tipping point to becoming a dead zone,” stated New Jersey PEER Director Bill Wolfe, noting that Governor Chris Christie vetoed legislation last year requiring a TMDL for Barnegat Bay.  “The DEP is defying the science and clearly violating the Clean Water Act by using regulatory powers in a political attempt to echo Governor Christie’s veto of a TMDL for the Bay. This amounts to a death sentence for Barnegat Bay.

Well, we now know that we were right. And our criticism was valid far beyond DEP’s “regulatory sleight of hand” on Barnegat Bay.

In an August 1, 2012 letter to DEP, recently obtained by a FOIA request, EPA found numerous serious deficiencies in NJ’s Report:

EPA’s objectives for regional review are to make sure that the methods provide scientifically correct ways to determine if the state’s surface water quality standards are attained; the state has used all data which meet its data requirements; the state has made a correct determination for listing, delisting or not listing any water; and the public had adequate opportunity to participate in 303(d) list development.

NJDEP’s submission has significant data gaps, which must be addressed as indicated in the enclosed comments.

The DEP scientists who prepared this flawed 303(d) Report, which EPA found has “significant data gaps“, are the same ones who are “manufacturing uncertainty” to block the release of Rutgers scientist Mike Kennish’s research, ironically on the basis of data gaps!

EPA’s letter to DEP provided a long list of flaws, not limited to Barnegat Bay, but found errors across the State.

In reviewing EPA’s criticisms, a pattern emerges, showing DEP trying to remove many waters without justification in an apparent effort to evade Clean Water Act requirements.

Because I have the letter in a zip file but no link is available, I’ll excerpt the most significant EPA findings (below is verbatim from EPA letter, the boldface text is mine as is boldfaced headers):

Waterbodies that are not proposed for listing with data that may support the listing:

  • Please refer to Enclosure 2, Table 1 and Figure 1, which show that Passaic R Lwr (4′h Street Br to Second R) NJ 02030103150040-01 and Passaic R Lwr (Nwk Bay to 4th St Brdg) NJ02030103150050-01 should be listed as impaired for Entero and that these segments are not meeting their designated uses for Secondary Contact Recreation. This data was used in support of the pathogen TMDL efforts. Please provide justification for not listing.
  • Please list Hackensack R (Ft Lee Rd to Oradell gage) NJ02030103180030-01 on the 303(d) list for Dissolved Oxygen (DO). Please refer to the New Jersey Harbor Dischargers Group Water Quality Report, (on page 14, Figure 19 titled, “% DO samples below standards – Hackensack and Hudson Rivers ”) (http://www.nj.gov/pvsc/pdf/2008 NJHDG WQ Report.pdf). If NJDEP does not agree with listing this segment, please provide justification for not listing.

TMDL priority waters/2 year TMDL schedule:

For several listing cycles, NJDEP identified a large number of high priority waters on its 2-year schedule for TMDL development. EPA strongly encourages NJDEP to complete these TMDLs and submit them to EPA before the next listing cycle.

NJDEP’s De-listing Justification Document:

NJDEP is proposing to de-list tidal waterbodies that were previously listed as impaired for Total Phosphorus. NJDEP is claiming that the numeric criteria for Total Phosphorus does not apply to tidal river segments, only freshwater segments. This is due to the most recent rulemaking in December of 2010 when NJ DEP adopted revisions to restrict the application of the numeric phosphorus criterion of 0.1 mg/L at N.JAC. 7:9B-1 .14(d)4ii(1) to non-tidal streams. However, EPA did not approve this particular revision (along with other numeric nutrient criteria revisions adopted at that time by NJDEP). Thus, until the WQS revisions are approved by EPA, the numeric nutrient criteria for TP of 0.1 mg/L remains applicable to all streams. The following segments cannot be de-listed for Total Phosphorus based on NJDEP’s justification that the numeric criteria does not apply for saline waters:    

  • NJ02030104020030-01 Elizabeth R (below Elizabeth CORP BDY)
  • NJ02040301170060-01 Mullica River (Rt 563 to Batsto River)
  • NJ02040301170080-01 Mullica River (Lower Bank Rd to Rt 563)
  • NJ02030105120170-01 Raritan R Lwr (Lawrence Bk to Mile Run)
  • NJ02040202080020-01 Rancocas Creek (Martins Beach to NB/SB)
  • NJ02040202120090-01 Newton Creek (LDRV-Kaighn Ave to LT Ck)
  • Section II. Applicable WQS Attained: According to New Method

Metals Based on NY/NJ Harbor Toxics Modeling
• Please include the below reference to the modeling work that was done, which shows that the assessment units are not exceeding the water quality criteria:

o http://www.harborestuary.org/pdf/HydroQua1­ DevelTMDLsHarbor 1995.pdf

o http://www.harborestuary.org/reports/toxics/NY-NJ-1994-Copper eta1­ NY-NJ Harbor .pdf

• Please provide the specific documentation that shows that Elizabeth River and Berrys Creek are included within the modeling reports. EPA believes these tributaries were not covered under the 1990′s or 2000′s Metal and toxics work that was done by HydroQual.

Natural Conditions – Arsenic

We understand that natural background levels of arsenic exceed the State’s human health criteria, and this is not only an issue in NJ but also around the country. However, EPA’s national policy (excerpt below) does not allow human health-based criteria to be modified based on natural conditions or human health uses, where the natural background concentration is documented, this new information should result in, at a minimum, a re­-evaluation of the human health use designation. Where the new background information documents that the natural background concentration does not support a human health use previously believed attained, it may be prudent for the State or Tribe to change the human health use to one that natural background concentration will support (e.g., from drinking water supply to drinking water supply only after treatment). (http://water.epa.gov/scitech/swguidance/standards/upload/2009 01 29 crite ria naturalba ck.pd f)

Thus, these segments cannot be de-listed until the human health use designation is re-evaluated in New Jersey’s Water Quality Standards.

Natural Conditions - pH

Please document, as required within Section 3.2 of the NJDEP 2012 Methods Document, that there are no anthropogenic sources or causes for pH in any of the following Assessment units:

o Pohatcong Ck (Brass Castle Ck to Rt 31) (NJ02040105140020-01);
o Pohatcong Ck (Edison Rd-Brass Castle Ck) (NJ02040105140030-01); o Pohatcong Ck (Merrill Ck to Edison Rd) (NJ02040105140050-01);
o Indian Branch (Scotland Run) (NJ02040206130030-01);
o Mullica River (Rt 563 to Batsto River) (NJ02040301170060-01); and o Mullica River (Lower Bank Rd to Rt 563) (NJ02040301170080-01).

Natural Conditions – Temperature

Please document, as required within Section 3.2 of the NJDEP 2012 Methods Document, that there are no anthropogenic sources or causes for Temperature in the following Assessment unit:

Raritan R SB (LongValley br to 74d44m15s) (NJ02030105010050-01) .

Section III. WQS Attained; Reason for Recoverv Unspecified

Pollutants

• NJ Surface Water Quality Standards apply to Chromium III and ’6. Please respond with supporting documentation that justifies the de-listing for Total Chromium for the following 2 segments:

o NJ02030103110020-01 Pompton River- Total Chromium
o NJ02040301080060-01 Toms RLwr (Rt 166 to Oak Ridge Pkwy)- Total Chromium

• The following segment/pollutant combinations are not showing as being removed in the electronic 303(d) assessment database (ADS):

NJ02040202110040-01 Cooper R(Wallworth gage to Evesham Rd) – Turbidity o NJ02040302030040-01 GEHR (Broad Lane road to AC Expressway) – Zinc

  • DEP provided only two data samples to support de-listing for Assessment unit NJ02040301170020-01 Hammonton Creek (Columbia Rd to 74d43m) for Copper to EPA, and one sample appears to exceed the SWQS’s. Please provide further de-listing justification or return this segment to the 303(d) list.
  • Data for NJ02030104060060-01 Pews Creek to Shrewsbury River show two exceedances of the DO standard in 2010. Please provide further de-listing justification or return this segment to the 303(d) list.
  • Data for NJ0203010407011O-01 Navesink R(Below Rt 35)!LowerShrewsbury show two exceedances of the DO standard in 2009 and 2010. Please provide further de-listing justification or return this segment to the 303(d) list.
  • Please provide the data justification for the following 3 de-listings:

o NJ02040301030010-01 Metedeconk RSB (above 1-195 exit 21 rd) for Oxygen, Dissolved o NJ0203010S080030-01 Raritan RLwr (Millstone to Rt 206) – Total Suspended Solids

o NJ02040301170020-01 Hammonton Creek (Columbia Rd to 74d43m) for Zinc

•  In order to understand the rationale for the proposed de-listing of Barnegat Bay North (Above Rt 37 Bridge) NJ02040301050050-01 Assessment unit for Dissolved Oxygen, please provide all continuous monitoring data taken by NJDEP and all entities, including the Barnegat Bay Partnership and Monmouth University.

Metals Listings Carried over from 1998

  • Pages 15-16 does not show Assessment unit NJ0204030203001O-01 being removed from the 303(d) list for Cadmium, Chromium or Lead.
  • Assessment unit NJ020403020S0130-01 is being proposed for de-listing in the de-listing justification document. However, the proposed Mercury delisting is not removed from the electronic 303(d) list in the assessment database (ADB).
  • Assessment units NJ02040302040080-01 and NJ02040302040090-01 are proposed for de-listing in the de-listing justification document. However, the proposed 6 metals are not removed in the electronic 303(d) list in the assessment database (ADB).

Section IV. WQS Attained – Original Listing Incorrect Dissolved Oxygen (DO)

4) Please provide all DO data at monitoring stations NJHDG-5 and Passaic-8 for the FW2-NT criterion for DO for NJ02030103120090-01Passaic R Lwr (Saddle R to Dundee Dam).

Metals

l) NJDEP report states: “In addition, total chromium attains WQS (see III.D).” Section III.D. does not exist. The correct reference should be section III.B.

7) NJ Surface Water Quality Standards apply to Chromium III and ’6. Please provide supporting documentation that justifies the de-listing for Total Chromium for NJ02040202100060-01 Pennsauken Ck (below NB.5B) for this segment.

9) Section 11I.c.1 does not provide justification that NJ02040302050060-01 GEHR (Miry Run to Lake Lenape) is not exceeding the WQS for Arsenic. Please provide the supporting data to justify the de-listing of Arsenic for this segment.

Section VI. Delisted Under TMDLs – Still impaired

Pathogens

Please provide supporting documentation which states that the TMDL target of 330 CFu/100ml and Geomean of 70 CFU/100ml for total coliform will assure that the SWQS for SEI waters (the Entero Geomean of 35/100ml or single max of 104/ 100ml) will be met.

In Assessment unit NJ02040202110060-01 Cooper River (below Rt 130) Escherichia coli is not being removed as a cause in ADB. Please update ADB to reflect the de-listing justification document .

Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs)

With regard to proposed delistings to Category 4a for waters identified as covered under the Delaware Estuary PCB TMDLs (Zones 2-5 and 6), only waters where allocations will result in meeting water quality standards for PCBs can be delisted. EPA, NJDEP, and DRBC have had several discussions regarding which waters are covered by the TMDLs, and it has become clear that many of these waters extend beyond the scope of the PCB TMDLs. NJDEP should prepare a TMDL amendment identifying the waters that are covered by the TMDLs and provide the justification that the allocations will result in meeting water quality standards in these waters. The amendment should be prepared in consultation with EPA and Delaware River Basin Commission. NJDEP must provide public notice on the amendment, respond to public comments and then submit it to EPA for review and approval. The public notice can occur in conjunction with the 303(d) list public notice.

end EPA comments

The DEP will propose the draft 2014 Water Quality Assessment Methods Document for pubic comment on July 21, 2014 and the 2014 303(d) list shortly after that. Short comment period.

We’ll keep you posted.

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