Latest EPA reports indicate that the quality of water in New Jersey is continuing to worsen.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has approved the 2010 Integrated Water Quality Report list of 2,112 waters in New Jersey that have been found either impaired or threatened by pollutants.
According to the EPA, an impaired body of water does not meet federal water quality standards even after implementation of pollution controls A body of water that is threatened looks to be impaired within two years.
Impairing a body of water keeps it from meeting federal standards for drinking water, swimming, or fishing. A common pollutant, dissolved oxygen, is a threat to fish and aquatic life.
A spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Protection, Larry Ragonese, told the Asbury Park Press, “We are working to improve the water quality. It’s a major issue. It would be very expensive and a very long-term effort to improve water, which is what we plan to do.”
The Clean Water Act requires states to report the quality of their waters to the EPA every two years. The most common source of pollutants in New Jersey include urban and storm drain runoff, sewer overflows, air pollution, and acid rain.
According to the New Jersey Sierra Club, director Jeff Tittel said, "The ultimate goal is to have a greater number of unimpaired waterways and this report underscores the need to continue monitoring New Jersey's waterways. At the rate we are going clean water in New Jersey will be an endangered species.”
New pollutants were found in waters in the basins of the Hudson River, the Passaic River, the Raritan River, and the Delaware Bay, according to the 2010 reports.