In May, 2016, the NJDEP proposed to amend the septic density provision of the Highlands Preservation Area Rules. The current rule stipulates that to construct a single family home on a septic system requires a minimum of 88 acres on a forested lot. This is the amount of land needed for precipitation to safely dilute a septic system’s effluent to a level that water quality is not degraded.
DEP is proposing to reduce the minimum acreage to 23 acres, an almost 400% decrease.
DEP is placing New Jersey’s primary water supply—which depends on the natural ecological functions of the Preservation Area forest—unnecessarily at risk. Squeezing as much development as it can into the highly sensitive Preservation Area will degrade the forest’s ecological integrity. Increasing the amount of human waste from septic effluent entering our drinking water supplies will increase the costs associated with additional water treatment. See the comment letter we submitted to DEP for a detailed explanation of our concerns here.