New Jersey Statutes Annotated/Title 58/Chapter 10A/Section 6

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58:10A-6. Permits; issuance; exemptions; prohibitions; requirements

a. It shall be unlawful for any person to discharge any pollutant, except as provided pursuant to subsections d. and p. of this section, or when the discharge conforms with a valid New Jersey Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit that has been issued by the commissioner pursuant to P.L.1977, c.74 (C.58:10A-1 et seq.) or a valid National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit issued by the administrator pursuant to the Federal Act, as the case may be.
b. It shall be unlawful for any person to build, install, modify or operate any facility for the collection, treatment or discharge of any pollutant, except after approval by the department pursuant to regulations adopted by the commissioner.
c. The commissioner is hereby authorized to grant, deny, modify, suspend, revoke, and reissue NJPDES permits in accordance with P.L.1977, c.74, and with regulations to be adopted by him. The commissioner may reissue, with or without modifications, an NPDES permit duly issued by the federal government as the NJPDES permit required by P.L.1977, c.74.
d. The commissioner may, by regulation, exempt the following categories of discharge, in whole or in part, from the requirement of obtaining a permit under P.L.1977, c.74; provided, however, that an exemption afforded under this section shall not limit the civil or criminal liability of any discharger nor exempt any discharger from approval or permit requirements under any other provision of State or federal law:
(1) Additions of sewage, industrial wastes or other materials into a publicly owned sewage treatment works which is regulated by pretreatment standards;
(2) Discharges of any pollutant from a marine vessel or other discharges incidental to the normal operation of marine vessels;
(3) Discharges from septic tanks, or other individual waste disposal systems, sanitary landfills, and other means of land disposal of wastes;
(4) Discharges of dredged or fill materials into waters for which the State could not be authorized to administer the section 404 program under section 404(g) of the "Federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendments of 1972," as amended by the "Clean Water Act of 1977" (33 U.S.C. § 1344) and implementing regulations;
(5) Nonpoint source discharges;
(6) Uncontrolled nonpoint source discharges composed entirely of storm water runoff when these discharges are uncontaminated by any industrial or commercial activity unless these particular storm water runoff discharges have been identified by the administrator or the department as a significant contributor of pollution;
(7) Discharges conforming to a national contingency plan for removal of oil and hazardous substances, published pursuant to section 311(c)(2) of the Federal Act;
(8) Discharges resulting from agriculture, including aquaculture, activities.
e. The commissioner shall not issue any permit for:
(1) The discharge of any radiological, chemical or biological warfare agent or high-level radioactive waste into the waters of this State;
(2) Any discharge which the United States Secretary of the Army, acting through the Chief of Engineers, finds would substantially impair anchorage or navigation;
(3) Any discharge to which the administrator has objected in writing pursuant to the Federal Act;
(4) Any discharge which conflicts with an areawide plan adopted pursuant to law.
f. A permit issued by the department or a delegated local agency pursuant to P.L.1977, c.74 shall require the permittee:
(1) To achieve effluent limitations based upon guidelines or standards established pursuant to the Federal Act or to P.L.1977, c.74, together with such further discharge restrictions and safeguards against unauthorized discharge as may be necessary to meet water quality standards, areawide plans adopted pursuant to law, or other legally applicable requirements;
(2) Where appropriate, to meet schedules for compliance with the terms of the permit and interim deadlines for progress or reports of progress towards compliance;
(3) To insure that all discharges are consistent at all times with the terms and conditions of the permit and that no pollutant will be discharged more frequently than authorized or at a level in excess of that which is authorized by the permit;
(4) To submit application for a new permit in the event of any contemplated facility expansion or process modification that would result in new or increased discharges or, if these would not violate effluent limitations or other restrictions specified in the permit, to notify the commissioner, or delegated local agency, of such new or increased discharges;
(5) To install, use and maintain such monitoring equipment and methods, to sample in accordance with such methods, to maintain and retain such records of information from monitoring activities, and to submit to the commissioner, or to the delegated local agency, reports of monitoring results for surface waters, as may be stipulated in the permit, or required by the commissioner or delegated local agency pursuant to paragraph (9) of this subsection, or as the commissioner or the delegated local agency may prescribe for ground water. Significant indirect users, major industrial dischargers, and local agencies, other than those discharging only stormwater or noncontact cooling water, shall, however, report their monitoring results for discharges to surface waters monthly to the commissioner, or the delegated local agency. Discharge monitoring reports for discharges to surface waters shall be signed by the highest ranking official having day-to-day managerial and operational responsibilities for the discharging facility, who may, in his absence, authorize another responsible high ranking official to sign a monthly monitoring report if a report is required to be filed during that period of time. The highest ranking official shall, however, be liable in all instances for the accuracy of all the information provided in the monitoring report; provided, however, that the highest ranking official may file, within seven days of his return, amendments to the monitoring report to which he was not a signatory. The highest ranking official having day-to-day managerial and operational responsibilities for the discharging facility of a local agency shall be the highest ranking licensed operator of the municipal treatment works in those instances where a licensed operator is required by law to operate the facility. In those instances where a local agency has contracted with another entity to operate a municipal treatment works, the highest ranking official who signs the discharge monitoring report shall be an employee of the contract operator and not of the local agency. Notwithstanding that an employee of a contract operator is the official who signs the discharge monitoring report, the local agency, as the permittee, shall remain liable for compliance with all permit conditions. In those instances where the highest ranking official having day-to-day managerial and operational responsibilities for a discharging facility of a local agency does not have the responsibility to authorize capital expenditures and hire personnel, a person having that responsibility, or a person designated by that person, shall submit to the department, along with the discharge monitoring report, a certification that that person has received and reviewed the discharge monitoring report. The person submitting the certification to the department shall not be liable for the accuracy of the information on the discharge monitoring report due to the submittal of the certification. Whenever a local agency has contracted with another entity to operate the municipal treatment works, the person submitting the certification shall be an employee of the permittee and not of the contract operator. The filing of amendments to a monitoring report in accordance with this paragraph shall not be considered a late filing of a report for purposes of subsection d. of section 6 of P.L.1990, c.28 (C.58:10A-10.1), or for purposes of determining a significant noncomplier;
(6) At all times, to maintain in good working order and operate as effectively as possible, any facilities or systems of control installed to achieve compliance with the terms and conditions of the permit;
(7) To limit concentrations of heavy metal, pesticides, organic chemicals and other contaminants in the sludge in conformance with the land-based sludge management criteria established by the department in the Statewide Sludge Management Plan adopted pursuant to the "Solid Waste Management Act," P.L.1970, c.39 (C.13:1E-1 et seq.) or established pursuant to the Federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendments of 1972 (33 U.S.C. § 1251 et seq.), or any regulations adopted pursuant thereto;
(8) To report to the department or delegated local agency, as appropriate, any exceedance of an effluent limitation that causes injury to persons, or damage to the environment, or poses a threat to human health or the environment, within two hours of its occurrence, or of the permittee becoming aware of the occurrence. Within 24 hours thereof, or of an exceedance, or of becoming aware of an exceedance, of an effluent limitation for a toxic pollutant, a permittee shall provide the department or delegated local agency with such additional information on the discharge as may be required by the department or delegated local agency, including an estimate of the danger posed by the discharge to the environment, whether the discharge is continuing, and the measures taken, or being taken, to remediate the problem and any damage to the environment, and to avoid a repetition of the problem;
(9) Notwithstanding the reporting requirements stipulated in a permit for discharges to surface waters, a permittee shall be required to file monthly reports with the commissioner or delegated local agency if the permittee:
(a) in any month commits a serious violation or fails to submit a completed discharge monitoring report and does not contest, or unsuccessfully contests, the assessment of a civil administrative penalty therefor; or
(b) exceeds an effluent limitation for the same pollutant at the same discharge point source by any amount for four out of six consecutive months.
The commissioner or delegated local agency may restore the reporting requirements stipulated in the permit if the permittee has not committed any of the violations identified in this paragraph for six consecutive months;
(10) To report to the department or delegated local agency, as appropriate, any serious violation within 30 days of the violation, together with a statement indicating that the permittee understands the civil administrative penalties required to be assessed for serious violations, and explaining the nature of the serious violation and the measures taken to remedy the cause or prevent a recurrence of the serious violation.
g. The commissioner and a local agency shall have a right of entry to all premises in which a discharge source is or might be located or in which monitoring equipment or records required by a permit are kept, for purposes of inspection, sampling, copying or photographing.
h. In addition, any permit issued for a discharge from a municipal treatment works shall require the permittee:
(1) To notify the commissioner or local agency in advance of the quality and quantity of all new introductions of pollutants into a facility and of any substantial change in the pollutants introduced into a facility by an existing user of the facility, except for such introductions of nonindustrial pollutants as the commissioner or local agency may exempt from this notification requirement when ample capacity remains in the facility to accommodate new inflows. The notification shall estimate the effects of the changes on the effluents to be discharged into the facility.
(2) To establish an effective regulatory program, alone or in conjunction with the operators of sewage collection systems, that will assure compliance and monitor progress toward compliance by industrial users of the facilities with user charge and cost recovery requirements of the Federal Act or State law and toxicity standards adopted pursuant to P.L.1977, c.74 and pretreatment standards.
(3) As actual flows to the facility approach design flow or design loading limits, to submit to the commissioner or local agency for approval, a program which the permittee and the persons responsible for building and maintaining the contributory collection system shall pursue in order to prevent overload of the facilities.
i. (1) All local agencies shall prescribe terms and conditions, consistent with applicable State and federal law, or requirements adopted pursuant thereto by the department, upon which pollutants may be introduced into treatment works, and shall have the authority to exercise the same right of entry, inspection, sampling, and copying, and to impose the same remedies, fines and penalties, and to recover costs and compensatory damages as authorized pursuant to subsection a. of section 10 of P.L.1977, c.74 (C.58:10A-10) and section 6 of P.L.1990, c.28 (C.58:10A-10.1), with respect to users of such works, as are vested in the commissioner by P.L.1977, c.74, or by any other provision of State law, except that a local agency, except as provided in P.L.1991, c.8 (C.58:10A-10.4 et seq.), may not impose civil administrative penalties, and shall petition the county prosecutor or the Attorney General for a criminal prosecution under that section. Terms and conditions shall include limits for heavy metals, pesticides, organic chemicals and other contaminants in industrial wastewater discharges based upon the attainment of land-based sludge management criteria established by the department in the Statewide Sludge Management Plan adopted pursuant to the "Solid Waste Management Act," P.L.1970, c.39 (C.13:1E-1 et seq.) or established pursuant to the Federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendments of 1972 (33 U.S.C. § 1251 et seq.), or any regulations adopted pursuant thereto.
(2) Of the amount of any penalty assessed and collected pursuant to an action brought by a local agency in accordance with section 10 of P.L.1977, c.74 or section 6 of P.L.1990, c.28 (C.58:10A-10.1), 10% shall be deposited in the "Wastewater Treatment Operators' Training Account," established in accordance with section 13 of P.L.1990, c.28 (C.58:10A-14.5), and used to finance the cost of training operators of municipal treatment works. The remainder shall be used by the local agency solely for enforcement purposes, and for upgrading municipal treatment works.
j. In reviewing permits submitted in compliance with P.L.1977, c.74 and in determining conditions under which such permits may be approved, the commissioner shall encourage the development of comprehensive regional sewerage planning or facilities, which serve the needs of the regional community, conform to the adopted area-wide water quality management plan for that region, and protect the needs of the regional community for water quality, aquifer storage, aquifer recharge, and dry weather based stream flows.
k. No permit may be issued, renewed, or modified by the department or a delegated local agency so as to relax any water quality standard or effluent limitation until the applicant, or permit holder, as the case may be, has paid all fees, penalties or fines due and owing pursuant to P.L.1977, c.74, or has entered into an agreement with the department establishing a payment schedule therefor; except that if a penalty or fine is contested, the applicant or permit holder shall satisfy the provisions of this section by posting financial security as required pursuant to paragraph (5) of subsection d. of section 10 of P.L.1977, c.74 (C.58:10A-10). The provisions of this subsection with respect to penalties or fines shall not apply to a local agency contesting a penalty or fine.
l. Each permitted facility or municipal treatment works, other than one discharging only stormwater or non-contact cooling water, shall be inspected by the department at least once a year; except that each permitted facility discharging into the municipal treatment works of a delegated local agency, other than a facility discharging only stormwater or non-contact cooling water, shall be inspected by the delegated local agency at least once a year. Except as hereinafter provided, an inspection required under this subsection shall be conducted within six months following a permittee's submission of an application for a permit, permit renewal, or, in the case of a new facility or municipal treatment works, issuance of a permit therefor, except that if for any reason, a scheduled inspection cannot be made the inspection shall be rescheduled to be performed within 30 days of the originally scheduled inspection or, in the case of a temporary shutdown, of resumed operation. Exemption of stormwater facilities from the provisions of this subsection shall not apply to any permitted facility or municipal treatment works discharging or receiving stormwater runoff having come into contact with a hazardous discharge site on the federal National Priorities List adopted by the United States Environmental Protection Agency pursuant to the "Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act," Pub.L.96-510 (42 U.S.C. s.9601 et seq.), or any other hazardous discharge site included by the department on the master list for hazardous discharge site cleanups adopted pursuant to section 2 of P.L.1982, c.202 (C.58:10-23.16). Inspections shall include:
(1) A representative sampling of the effluent for each permitted facility or municipal treatment works, except that in the case of facilities or works that are not major facilities or significant indirect users, sampling pursuant to this paragraph shall be conducted at least once every three years;
(2) An analysis of all collected samples by a State owned and operated laboratory, or a certified laboratory other than one that has been or is being used by the permittee, or that is directly or indirectly owned, operated or managed by the permittee;
(3) An evaluation of the maintenance record of the permittee's treatment equipment;
(4) An evaluation of the permittee's sampling techniques;
(5) A random check of written summaries of test results, prepared by the certified laboratory providing the test results, for the immediately preceding 12-month period, signed by a responsible official of the certified laboratory, certifying the accuracy of the test results; and
(6) An inspection of the permittee's sample storage facilities and techniques if the sampling is normally performed by the permittee.
The department may inspect a facility required to be inspected by a delegated local agency pursuant to this subsection. Nothing in this subsection shall require the department to conduct more than one inspection per year.
m. The facility or municipal treatment works of a permittee identified as a significant noncomplier shall be subject to an inspection by the department, or the delegated local agency, as the case may be, which inspection shall be in addition to the requirements of subsection l. of this section. The inspection shall be conducted within 60 days of receipt of the discharge monitoring report that initially results in the permittee being identified as a significant noncomplier. The inspection shall include a random check of written summaries of test results, prepared by the certified laboratory providing the test results, for the immediately preceding 12-month period, signed by a responsible official of the certified laboratory, certifying the accuracy of the test results. A copy of each summary shall be maintained by the permittee. The inspection shall be for the purpose of determining compliance. The department or delegated local agency is required to conduct only one inspection per year pursuant to this subsection, and is not required to make an inspection hereunder if an inspection has been made pursuant to subsection l. of this section within six months of the period within which an inspection is required to be conducted under this subsection.
n. To assist the commissioner in assessing a municipal treatment works' NJPDES permit in accordance with paragraph (3) of subsection b. of section 7 of P.L.1977, c.74 (C.58:10A-7), a delegated local agency shall perform a complete analysis that includes a complete priority pollutant analysis of the discharge from, and inflow to, the municipal treatment works. The analysis shall be performed by a delegated local agency as often as the priority pollutant scan is required under the permit, but not less than once a year, and shall be based upon data acquired in the priority pollutant scan and from applicable sludge quality analysis reports. The results of the analysis shall be included in a report to be attached to the annual report required to be submitted to the commissioner by the delegated local agency.
o. Except as otherwise provided in section 3 of P.L.1963, c.73 (C.47:1A-3), any records, reports or other information obtained by the commissioner or a local agency pursuant to this section or section 5 of P.L.1972, c.42 (C.58:11-53), including any correspondence relating thereto, shall be available to the public; however, upon a showing satisfactory to the commissioner by any person that the making public of any record, report or information, or a part thereof, other than effluent data, would divulge methods or processes entitled to protection as trade secrets, the commissioner or local agency shall consider such record, report, or information, or part thereof, to be confidential, and access thereto shall be limited to authorized officers or employees of the department, the local agency, and the federal government.
p. The provisions of this section shall not apply to a discharge of petroleum to the surface waters of the State that occurs as a result of the process of recovering, containing, cleaning up or removing a discharge of petroleum in the surface waters of the State and that is undertaken in compliance with the instructions of a federal on-scene coordinator or of the commissioner or the commissioner's designee.
q. The commissioner shall, in consultation with the Department of Agriculture and the Aquaculture Advisory Council, provide for the issuance of general permits for the discharge of pollutants from concentrated aquatic animal production facilities and aquacultural projects. In establishing general permits the commissioner shall take into consideration the source and receiving water quality and the type of aquaculture activity being conducted. The general permits issued pursuant to this subsection shall give priority to meeting best management practices rather than attaining numeric pollutant discharge parameter levels. If the commissioner determines that a permittee cannot perform the best management practices in order to obtain a general permit or that the performance of best management practices will not be protective of water quality as required by P.L.1977, c.74, the commissioner may require the permittee to obtain an individual permit which may contain numeric pollutant parameter discharge limits.

History: L. 1977, c. 74, § 6; amended 1987, c. 156, § 32; 1988, c. 56, § 7; 1990, c. 28, § 3; 1993, c. 23; 1995, c. 16, § 3; 1997, c. 236, § 27.