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Wastewater Management

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The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) administers the Statewide Water Quality Management Planning (WQMP) rule, N.J.A.C. 7:15. This rule requires designated Water Quality Management Planning Agencies throughout the state to prepare and maintain Water Quality Management Plans (WQMPs). The WQMP provides a management program for water resources, one aspect of which is the Wastewater Management Plan (WMP).

Download the Statewide Water Quality Management Planning Rule

The Ocean County Board of Commissioners is the designated Water Quality Management Planning Agency for Ocean County and those portions of Monmouth County which lie within the Metedeconk River Basin. The Ocean County Board of Commissioners has identified the Ocean County Department of Planning as the county agency charged with WMP preparation and maintenance.


The Ocean County Wastewater Management Plan is an integral component of the Ocean County Water Quality Management Plan. The purpose of the WMP is threefold. Using data from state and regional entities:

  • The WMP assesses the adequacy of existing wastewater treatment alternatives to meet population growth projections, and proposes solutions where deficits are discovered.
  • The WMP ensures that sewer service is not extended into environmentally sensitive areas. This is done through the adoption of a Sewer Service Area map (see below).
  • The WMP identifies public water supply areas and identifies the water supply needs associated with proposed development.
The current Ocean County WMP was approved by the NJDEP on December 30, 2015.


Ocean County divides its WQMP into three regions, or planning areas: the Northern Planning Area, the Central Planning Area, and the Southern Planning Area. Each of these three planning areas is served by a centralized wastewater treatment facility. These facilities are owned and operated by the Ocean County Utilities Authority (OCUA), which is the designated management agency for wastewater treatment under the WQMP.

In accordance with the WQMP rule (N.J.A.C. 7:15-5.22), Ocean County’s Sewer Service Area boundaries were delineated by the Ocean County Department of Planning in coordination with the NJDEP, the Pinelands Commission, and the municipalities of Ocean County.

On February 7, 2013, Ocean County’s Sewer Service Area boundaries were adopted by the NJDEP under P.L. 2011, C. 203. These Sewer Service Area boundaries are now effective for Ocean County’s Northern, Central, and Southern Planning Areas.

It should be noted that the Sewer Service Area includes all Pinelands designated Regional Growth Areas, Towns, and Villages in Ocean County.

View the Interactive Sewer Service Area Map


As stated in N.J.A.C 7:15-3.5(a), at times it may become necessary to change the Sewer Service Area boundary so as to “implement or comply with applicable State or Federal law; respond to new information or circumstances; improve the economic, social, or environmental impact of WQM plans; or address issues identified through the consistency assessment or permitting process.” Individuals or entities wishing to request changes to Ocean County’s Sewer Service Area must follow the NJDEP’s amendment/revision application procedure.

Applicants for “site specific” amendment or revision are asked to supply both the Ocean County Department of Planning and the NJDEP Office of Water Resources Management Coordination with a written description of the proposed project as well as all relevant documentation which substantiates the need for the amendment or revision and details the specific change to the Sewer Service Area. (If a pre-application meeting is desired, please contact the NJDEP’s Office of Permit Coordination and Environmental Review.)

Download the Permit Readiness Checklist Form

The NJDEP will commence a formal review upon receiving the application materials. The NJDEP will provide a response to the applicant within 90 days regarding the status of the application, specifically whether it is approved, it is disapproved, or more information is requested. The review itself can often take longer than 90 days. If the application is in order, the NJDEP will publish a public notice in the New Jersey Register, the publication of which shall begin a 30-day public comment period. In some cases a public hearing may be scheduled.

As a part of its review, the County will determine if the application is consistent with the Ocean County Master Plan.

At the conclusion of the public comment period the NJDEP will either adopt the amendment/revision, adopt the amendment/revision with minor changes, or disapprove the amendment/revision.

If an amendment is adopted by the NJDEP, the Ocean County Board of Commissioners will then adopt a resolution consenting to the amendment. (A resolution of consent is not required for revisions.) The Sewer Service Area map will then be updated to incorporate the change.

The procedures for amendments and revisions to WQMPs are laid out in detail in the WQMP rule at N.J.A.C. 7:15-3.4 and 3.5.