Middlesex County Sewer Service Area Update Delayed

February 18, 2014 | No Comments
Posted by Steven M. Dalton

Developers should take note of recent events pertaining to sewer service areas in Middlesex County.  The Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders did not approve the Future Wastewater Service Area (FWSA) Map that had been proposed for adoption by the Middlesex County Planning Board in conjunction with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).  The proposed FWSA Map update had long been in the works and was to replace the sewer service area map in effect for the County since 2007 as an amendment to the County Water Quality Management Plan (WQMP).  The lengthy FWSA map update process spanned several years.  It included extensive municipal and stakeholder input, and considerable back and forth between the County and DEP, culminating in public notice of the proposed FWSA Map published in October 2013, and a public hearing November 2013.  The Board of Chosen Freeholders, however, did not endorse the FWSA Map by a January 27, 2014 deadline set by DEP.  As a result, it appears to be back to the drawing board for the sewer service area updates.

The County is expected to now proceed with a more comprehensive update of the WQMP to include not only the map update but also the text of the WQMP and the various municipal Wastewater Management Plan chapters.  The time frame for such action is uncertain.

In the meantime, the sewer service areas under the 2007 Water Quality Management Plan remain in effect throughout the County by default until further action is taken by DEP or the County.  Parties with land interests in Middlesex County should evaluate how their land holdings are affected by this development.  Owners whose parcels are included in sewer service areas under the existing area map should consider pursuing applications for development approvals to establish grandfathering rights under the WQMP regulations before further changes to the sewer service areas occur.  Parties who would have benefitted from the FWSA Map by inclusion in the sewer service area, or who believe that site conditions warrant inclusion, should monitor the County’s activities and evaluate whether it is necessary to make a request for inclusion in the FWSA as part of the County WQMP update process.

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