Clean Ocean Action

Clean Ocean Advocate, January 2005

Nicole Simmons, 732-872-0111,

Raw Sewage: Dilution is Not Solution

The US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) is expected to release its “National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permit Requirements for Municipal Wastewater Treatment Discharges During Wet Weather Conditions,” a policy that would let wastewater treatment plants re-route sewage around secondary treatment units during wet weather.  The untreated, but filtered, sewage would then be “blended” with fully treated wastewater before being discharged directly into a waterbody. 


The USEPA Administrator is expected to imminently approve this final guidance policy.  Citizens, organizations, and elected officials are encouraged to immediately write letters to the Administrator urging the withdrawal of the guidance and to hold fast to and enforce existing rules that address the root causes of wastewater treatment problems.  Write to: USEPA Administrator, Ariel Rios Building, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. 20460.


In February 2004, 30 organizations from NY and NJ, including Clean Ocean Action, submitted joint comments to USEPA condemning the draft guidance.  In their comments, representatives of community, conservation, diving, environmental, fishing, religious, and watershed groups strongly urged USEPA to immediately withdraw the blending guidance and continue to uphold the nation’s momentum toward improved protection of waterways by enforcing current law.  The groups cited adverse impacts to public health, recreation, tourism, business, fishing, and shellfishing that would occur if USEPA Administrator Michael Leavitt approves the guidance.


NJ Bills to Stop Fast Track Introduced

Bi-partisan bills in both the NJ Senate and Assembly were introduced in mid-December to repeal the Fast Track law.  S2157 and A3650 are needed to stop Fast Track, which weakens public health and environmental standards, eliminates public participation, and permits polluters to write their own permits.  Attending a December 13 press conference in Trenton to announce and support the bills were Senate Minority Leader Leonard Lance (R-23) and Senators Shirley Turner (D-15), Robert Martin (R-26), and Ellen Karcher (D-12), and Assemblymen Reed Gusciora (D-15), John Rooney (R-39), Louis Manzo (D-31), Sean Kean (R-11), Robert Morgan (D-12), Bill Baroni (R-12), and Linda Greenstein (D-12).  COA commends the coastal delegation who remain strong in opposition of Fast Track.  Earlier in the month, Governor James McGreevey issued an executive order putting a temporary moratorium on Fast Track’s implementation to provide an opportunity for the law to be properly debated.  Since then, Acting Governor Richard Codey publicly committed to “making major changes” on Fast Track. For updates or more information, visit

Oyster Creek Nuclear Power Plant Re-licensing Review

The NJ Assembly Environmental and Solid Waste Committee convened two public meetings, one on December 2 in Brick Township and the second on December 9 in Tinton Falls, to accept testimony on the proposed re-licensing of the Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Plant in Lacey Township.  Oyster Creek is the oldest nuclear power plant in the nation, coming on-line in 1969, and will operate under its original 40-year license until 2009.  The decision to re-license the plant rests with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.  The reasons against re-licensing Oyster Creek beyond 2009 are numerous, including inappropriate location, aging and degrading infrastructure, problematic storage capabilities, and environmental concerns.

A study conducted from November 1984 through December 1985 reported 22 million fish and invertebrates were impinged. Water is drawn into the plant via the Forked River and released via Oyster Creek, which drains into Barnegat Bay.  The flow of the southern portion of Forked River was reversed to accommodate the water needs of the plant.   Elevated temperatures in Oyster Creek and surrounding waters due to discharge allow tropical/subtropical invasive species to survive.  Consequently, two exotic shipworms are creating problems for boat owners.  COA will fight the renewal of Oyster Creek’s once-through cooling system.


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Gateway National Recreation Area
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