How New Jersey’s New Stormwater Regulations Could Impact Your Project

26 May, 2021

For developers kicking off a new land development project in New Jersey, changes to the state’s stormwater management regulations may impact your project.

Among the recent updates, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) requires developers to implement “green infrastructure” to manage stormwater runoff. Where developers could previously direct runoff to a single collection point, the green infrastructure mandates now require that runoff be dispersed throughout the site. This change, in particular, could impact site layout, project cost, schedule, and density.

Here’s what owners and developers should be aware of regarding the new regulations, specifically the green infrastructure mandate, and how to prepare for the ways in which it may affect development goals.

Projects Affected:

The changes apply to any land development project application deemed complete after March 2, 2021 that meets at least one of the following requirements:

  1. 1. One acre of area or more is excavated during construction.
  2. 2. A quarter acre of newly improved area is added, including parking lots, driveways, sidewalks, and building areas or where the stormwater system of an existing improved area is being modified.
  3. 3. A quarter acre of new areas are designed for vehicles to drive or part on, even if they are grass or gravel – a departure from the previous regulation, which did not consider pervious areas, such as grass, to meet this threshold.
  4. 4. Any combination of #2 and #3 that totals one quarter acre or more.
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Get Ahead of the Changes

For projects that trigger green infrastructure requirements, site design will need to include multiple stormwater collection points. This significant change could restrict site layout opportunities and potentially impact much more. Here’s what to look for and proactive steps developers can take to stay ahead:

  1. 1. Increased Geotechnical Due Diligence and Conceptual Stormwater Management Investigation

In general, more areas throughout the site will need to be investigated to determine if they can be used for stormwater management collection.

What You Can Do:

Engage a geotechnical engineering consultant early in your project to strategize due diligence approaches and potential locations for stormwater facilities with your civil engineer. Early collaboration can help you to identify areas that are capable of infiltrating water at a higher rate, which can ultimately lead to a smaller and more efficient stormwater management design. Be sure your civil engineering consultant is considering stormwater management design during the due diligence and conceptual design phases.

2. Increased Cost for Construction and Maintenance

Multiple stormwater structures spread across the site equates to more facilities to construct and maintain.

What You Can Do:

Engage a general contractor at the beginning stages of your project to collaborate with the rest of your team on design, constructability, and sequencing. Your contractor has a unique perspective on these elements, and their input early in the project’s life can ultimately help you control costs and schedule.

3. Reduction in Density

Because buildings, parking, and stormwater facilities likely will be more intertwined throughout the site, it may be more challenging to maximize density.

What You Can Do:

Engage your civil engineering consultant early to strategize with the project team to maximize your site. Each site is different, presenting its own unique challenges and opportunities. A consultant team should understand what success looks like to you so that when the consultants assess site conditions, they are better informed in recommending a design that will ultimately help you bring your vision to life.

4. Schedule Delays as Local Jurisdictions Adopt the Regulations

While the NJDEP has released the updated regulations and guidelines state-wide, each local jurisdiction interprets them independently. In the early stages of adoption of this regulation, we anticipate longer approval timeframes as the details are worked out with each set of reviewers.

What You Can Do:

Meet with the jurisdiction early during your project’s life cycle, during conceptual design, to obtain the jurisdiction’s buy-in on your proposed layout. This can streamline permitting and approvals once the design is finalized.

What Do These New Regulations Look Like On Site?

The following are example stormwater management facility layouts for different project types. Each example shows the stormwater collection points according to the prior regulations, followed by how the layout could look with multiple, smaller facilities under the new regulations.



Industrial site plan example before New Jersey's new stormwater regulations


Industrial site plan example after New Jersey's new stormwater regulations



Residential site plan example before New Jersey's new stormwater regulations


Residential site plan example after New Jersey's new stormwater regulations



Commercial site plan example before New Jersey's new stormwater regulations


Commercial site plan example after New Jersey's new stormwater regulations


Mitigating Impacts

While NJDEP’s new stormwater management regulations could impact project costs, schedule, and yield, meeting proactively with your consultant team gives you more time to understand, react, and respond. To evaluate effects on your project, collaborate with your consultant team at the conceptual design stage to help identify ways to mitigate these impacts.

Ready to move forward with a project in New Jersey? Contact one of Bohler’s teams in Warren, Red Bank, or Mount Laurel.

About James Thaon, PE
James Thaon, PE, Branch Manager of Bohler's Manasquan, NJ office

As Principal and Branch Manager for Bohler’s Red Bank, NJ office, James leads a team of civil engineering professionals who help owners and developers act on opportunities to accomplish their most ambitious land development goals. With experience managing projects across all commercial, institutional, and residential markets, James leverages creative design solutions and strategizes entitlements to stay on track. Throughout his career, James has developed strong relationships with municipal staff and governmental agencies across New Jersey.

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