By: Savannah Scarborough, Follow South Jersey Intern
SOUTH JERSEY – As a part of the Murphy Administrations Infrastructure Investment Tour, NJDEP Commissioner Shawn M. LaTourette announced the administration’s “Stormwater Assistance Grants” recently.
The $7 million grant allocated towards stormwater assistance projects to reduce flooding and improve water quality across the state will be spread between dozens of municipalities.
In the face of worsening impacts from climate change, the grant works to enhance and modernize local stormwater management practices and infrastructure. According to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), many of the projects use green infrastructure technology and natural solutions in overburdened communities to mitigate localized flooding and improve the ecological health of waterways.
New Jersey faces an increased risk of flooding and unhealthy drinking water. The state plans to reduce flooding threats, protect public health, increase jobs, and enhance the health of the state’s waterways through the Investment Tour.
“We’ve seen incredible increases in the frequency of flooding and other hazards,” said Assembly Speaker Craig J. Coughlin. “I am proud of our work to mitigate that damage by funding projects like this and listening to experts about how to set our state on a safe, prosperous path.”
The Camden County Municipal Utilities Authority (CCMUA) will receive a $1.2 million grant for a massive green infrastructure project around State and Harrison Streets. The Lake Hopatcong Foundation is receiving $228,900 to control runoff from a parking area, Hackensack is receiving $200,000 to prepare a stormwater asset management plan, etc., and Mount Holly is receiving $285,000 to replace impervious asphalt paving with porous paving at the municipal building.
In Perth Amboy, where Commissioner LaTourette announced the grants, is an example of where the Investment Tour’s money is going. Perth Amboy received a $438,512 grant to implement six green infrastructure projects in priority sewer areas. The project focuses on reducing discharges from combined sewer system overflows that cause problems for the area, like nuisance flooding and combined sewage-stormwater discharges.
“This is an important investment to help combat the increased flooding we’ve seen in Perth Amboy,” said Senator Joseph F. Vitale. “Making such investments today is necessary to ensure the community is prepared to face future threats posed by climate change and I am committed to supporting that preparation.”
All the money the DEP uses for the Investment Tour comes from the state’s Corporate Business Tax and Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Fund.
The Stormwater Assistance grant is just one piece of the Murphy Administration’s Investment Tour. In January 2022, the Murphy Administration launched the state’s Water Infrastructure Investment Plan (WIIP). Since then, Commissioner LaTourette has toured the state, meeting with local officials and stakeholders to raise awareness of the need for concerted investments in water infrastructure.
Additionally, the Murphy Administration and DEP have implemented policies and programs, like NJ-TAP (New Jersey Technical Assistance Program), which provides technical assistance to help disadvantaged communities provide residents with safe and reliable drinking water.
“We are proud to provide our communities with the resources to make them safer, healthier, and more resilient,” Commissioner LaTourette said. “At the same time, we must acknowledge that we have much work to do to address New Jersey’s pressing water infrastructure needs, estimated at $30 billion.”
According to the DEP, awarded grants were placed into four categories: Stormwater Asset Opportunity Planning and Analysis, Green Infrastructure Projects, Existing Infrastructure Enhancement, and Removal and Restoration of Impervious Areas.
For a complete list of the municipalities with combined sewer systems or declared overburdened by the DEP, click here.
Visit Follow South Jersey’s article on NJ-TAP here to learn more about the program.
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