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Population: 8,414,350

Information on the state of New Jersey is available for the following topics. To review this information, click on the links below.

Contacts| Regulations, Statutes & State Codes | Quick Facts | Septic Stats

Onsite Demonstration Programs | Onsite Management Communities



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Fred Bowers, Research Scientist, or
Eleanor Krukowski, Supervising Environmental Specialist
New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
Division of Water Quality
Trenton, New Jersey 08625-0029
(609) 292-0407
(609) 984-2147 (fax)





Regulations, Statutes & State Codes:
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New Jersey State Regulations

New Jersey Constitutions, Statutes and Codes

Standards for Individual Subsurface Sewage Disposal Systems
N.J.A.C. 7: 9A-1
August 15, 1999

Onsite regulations for New Jersey were last updated in August 15, 1999, and are currently not under revision. However, prior to July 31, 2002, there will be: 1) A new subchapter authorizing alternative systems, 2) Stronger qualification requirements for septic system inspectors and mandatory registration, and 3) Modifications to the select fill specifications for disposal systems.

Those technologies approved in New Jersey for onsite wastewater treatment and disposal include:
· Disposal fields-Conventional disposal fields and trenches, soil replacement (bottom lined), soil replacement (fill enclosed), mound systems, mounded soil replacement systems, chamber systems, pipe systems, and Eljen non aggregate drainfield. The last three technologies may be approved with no reduction in disposal areas allowed.
· Wastewater treatment-Effluent filters and grinder/ejector pumps.
· Dosing systems-Pressure and gravity.
· Other technologies may be approved only under a New Jersey Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NJPDES or New Jersey NPDES) permit and construction Treatment Works Approvals (TWA).
New regulations are to be proposed prior to July 31, 2002, which will outline protocol to allow technologies not listed above. Presently, the only allowance for alternate technology would be through the issuance of a TWA by the NJDEP.

Surface discharge is an option for onsite septic disposal systems in New Jersey; however, it is not economically viable and is never practiced. Tertiary treatment systems that can meet surface water quality standards are allowed to surface discharge. An NPDES permit is required from the NJDEP, and is referred to as a NJPDES permit.

New Jersey Code allows for drainfield area/size reductions for pressure-dosed systems. The proposed regulatory changes are anticipated to include a reduction in the area required for the zone of disposal based on changes in the select fill requirements.

No funding program exists to assist homeowners either replacing failing systems or installing new systems.

Currently, there are no ongoing onsite demonstration, research, or testing projects in New Jersey.

New Jersey Code recognizes/requires management programs or districts to monitor and maintain onsite systems or individual liquid waste systems. Although they are not required by the State of New Jersey at this time, septic management programs may be set up under individual regions (county, municipality, etc.) to require items such as regular septic tank pump-outs and/or other types of septic management practices by local ordinance. The NJDEP must be copied on the specific ordinances passed with respect to septic management and may be consulted for assistance in developing the individual programs.

The state does not track the number of permits issued per year for new construction, systems repairs, or system replacements. These records are maintained at the local level. Presently, the NJDEP is compiling data from all local agencies to establish total numbers for the state.

New Jersey State Code N.J.A.C. 7:9A-3.4 defines a failed system thus: Malfunctioning systems establish four (4) indications of that malfunction. Based upon the discretion of the local authority or the State agency, failure (and response to the failure) is established. The four (4) indications of malfunction are:
1. Contamination of a nearby well or surface water body by sewage or effluent as indicated by the presence of fecal bacteria where the ratio of fecal coliform to fecal streptococci is four (4) or greater;
2. Ponding or breakout of sewage or effluent onto the surface of the ground;
3. Seepage of sewage or effluent into portions of buildings below ground; or
4. Backup of sewage into the building served which is not caused by a physical blockage of the internal plumbing.
The most common reasons for system failure in the state include lack of or improper maintenance, facilities discharging waste other than residential (primarily restaurants), undersized systems, poor installation and construction, and old systems.

The State does not have a licensing/certification program for onsite wastewater professionals; however, a voluntary registration program has been established. A proposal for a mandatory registration program is anticipated in the next rule revision.

In New Jersey, only local health officers and State officers may declare the failure of a septic system. The voluntary registration program establishes that site evaluators are licensed professional engineers, licensed health officers, registered environmental health specialists, or soil scientists. Septic system inspectors include registered solid waste haulers, licensed professional engineers, licensed health officers, and registered environmental health specialists.

Questions about municipal wastewater regulations may be directed to:

New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
Municipal Finance and Construction Element
Bureaus of Engineering North/South
(609) 292-6894 or (609) 984-6840


Quick Facts:
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Total number of onsite systems: 1990 U.S. census reports about 360,000 systems.

Number of new systems installed each year: About 2200 (ten-year average).

Failure definition: Hydraulic failure (ponding), backup or seepage into the house, coliform
contamination of domestic well water.

Number or proportion of systems presently failing: NA (although N.J. is beginning to
systematically collect this kind of information).

Number or proportion repaired annually: NA

Number or proportion replaced annually: NA

Number or proportion of repairs or replacements that require alternative technology (e.g.,
sand filters, pressure dosing):
Very few.

Number or proportion of repairs or replacements that require advanced technology (e.g.,
disinfection, nutrient removal):
Very few.

Cost of a conventional septic system installation: $8000-$17,500; range, $4000-$50,000.

Cost of a centralized sewer tie-in (including fees and cost of the sewer lateral):

Septic Stats:
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NEW JERSEY 7,730,188 3,075,310 2,756,133 288,970 25,898 4,309 2,703,489 357,890 13,931
ATLANTIC 224,327 106,877 83,249 21,675 1,839 114 85,377 20,784 716
BERGEN 825,380 324,817 316,600 7,456 566 195 304,247 16,871 699
BURLINGTON 395,066 143,236 119,358 21,601 2,111 166 118,481 23,973 782
CAMDEN 502,824 190,145 180,557 8,565 890 133 177,237 12,176 732
CAPEMAY 95,089 85,537 65,356 18,398 1,718 65 68,604 16,601 332
CUMBERLAND 138,053 50,294 33,721 15,075 1,438 60 29,185 20,682 427
ESSEX 778,206 298,710 297,240 1,080 155 235 295,367 1,657 1,686
GLOUCESTER 230,082 82,459 66,835 14,051 1,465 108 62,379 19,796 284
HUDSON 553,099 229,682 229,338 137 46 161 227,328 834 1,520
HUNTERDON 107,776 39,987 15,787 22,717 1,103 380 15,129 24,408 450
MERCER 325,824 123,666 114,762 7,968 849 87 115,498 7,714 454
MIDLESEX 671,780 250,174 244,049 5,114 921 90 244,007 5,659 508
MONMOUTH 553,124 218,408 203,510 12,850 1,935 113 196,463 21,446 499
MORRIS 421,353 155,745 127,752 25,394 2,195 404 109,043 46,170 532
OCEAN 433,203 219,863 186,404 30,495 2,715 249 193,899 25,405 559
PASSAIC 453,060 162,512 150,087 10,968 1,022 435 145,085 15,761 1,666
SALEM 65,294 25,349 16,217 7,919 1,168 45 14,677 10,409 263
SOMERSET 240,279 92,653 74,007 17,238 1,289 119 80,062 12,371 220
SUSSEX 130,943 51,574 21,892 27,421 1,647 614 11,331 39,724 519
UNION 493,819 187,033 186,377 545 39 72 185,375 862 796
WARREN 91,607 36,589 23,035 12,303 787 464 21,715 14,587 287


Onsite Demonstration Programs:
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There is no information available on Onsite Demonstration Programs in New Jersey.

Onsite Management Communities:
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There is no information available on Onsite Management Communities in New Jersey.