Saturday, January 23rd, 2016

 

TRENTON – With significant snowfall during a nor’easter this weekend, the Department of Environmental Protection is reminding local and county governments of steps to keep roadways and neighborhoods as safe and clear as possible while also protecting the environment.

The storm, expected to continue through the weekend, is forecast for periods for heavy snowfall, winds gusts as high as 60 miles per hour near the coast, and the strong likelihood of coastal flooding, impacting barrier islands and interior property along bays.

Governments are advised to choose snow disposal sites on upland areas, as far as possible from water bodies and wetlands to protect these ecologically sensitive areas from road salt and other potential contaminants.

If those options are unavailable due to snow volume and public safety needs, the DEP will consider authorizing disposal of snow in certain larger waterways in emergency situations and on a case-by-case basis. Such exceptions must be approved by the DEP first. Unapproved disposal into waterways is not permissible because there may be unknown contaminants in the snow that could pollute waterways.

Authorization to place snow into surface waters can be requested by calling the DEP Hotline at: 1-877-WARNDEP (1-877-927-6337). These authorizations are restricted to municipalities and counties for this specific weather event. This option is not available to private businesses or residents.

All municipalities and counties statewide have been notified by the DEP of this potential arrangement for emergency storm events.

Factors to be considered for disposing of snow in larger waterways include the size of the water body, presence of environmentally sensitive areas, flow of the waterway, the resulting amount of floating ice or snow, impact on downstream dams, and impact on channels being blocked.

Excess snow cannot be dumped in wetlands, small streams, waters that contain shellfish beds or drinking water reservoirs.

Removal of snow from storm drains should be a top priority for road crews, in order to allow for proper drainage of melting snow and to avert flooding.

Further, authorities that own and maintain combined sewer outfalls are advised to ensure that nets designed to trap trash and other floatables are checked and cleared, if necessary, to allow for proper drainage as snow melts.

For more information on snow removal guidelines and state policy on snow removal, visit: http://www.nj.gov/dep/snowremoval.html

For other storm-related information from DEP, including information on impacts on state parks and historic sites, visit the DEP’s home page at http://www.nj.gov/dep/ and click on the Storm Info button.