REHS’s role is to assist the University community and operating departments in achieving and maintaining compliance with all aspects of the Clean Water Act. The Clean Water Act, as established by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was established to help protect groundwater, surface water and stormwater.
REHS currently manages the University Underground Storage Tank (UST) program which has managed the removal of over 250 underground storage tanks that either contained heating oil, diesel fuel or gasoline. These tanks were upgraded or removed so that we could prevent future spills or discharges from impacting the surrounding environment and groundwater.
REHS has assisted University Departments in redirecting the discharge of hundreds of cooling tower discharges. The majority of the cooling water discharged to surface water, which would have required extensive campus wide environmental discharge permits and continuous sampling, as required by the EPA and New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJ DEP). This redirection eliminated the need for permits and monitoring.
As a result of USEPA's Phase II stormwater rules and New Jersey’s recent adoption of the federal stormwater regulations, REHS has assisted the University community and affected Departments in developing a program and standard operating procedure that comply with the rule. The University’s stormwater program/ permit addresses pollutants entering our waters from many storm drainage systems owned or operated by the University. The USEPA and New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJ DEP) regulations refer to these systems as "municipal separate storm sewer systems" (MS4s).
Polluted stormwater runoff is a leading cause of impairment to the nearly 40 percent of surveyed U.S. water bodies which do not meet water quality standards. Over land or via storm sewer systems, polluted runoff is discharged, often untreated, directly into local water bodies. When left uncontrolled, this water pollution can result in the destruction of fish, wildlife, and aquatic life habitats; a loss in aesthetic value; and threats to public health due to contaminated food, drinking water supplies, and recreational waterways.
Specifically, the University has been completing a detailed mapping system of all stormwater inlets, outfalls and receiving water bodies as well revising standard operating procedures that have a potential to adversely impact stormwater runoff. These activities include, but are not limited too: vehicle maintenance and parking, elimination of vehicle washing, illicit sewer connections, grounds maintenance, and improvement of existing drainage areas.
During construction activities, whether a small outdoor renovation or, the construction of a new building Rutgers maintains site controls to minimize environmental impacts. Those controls are routinely monitored between Rutgers Environmental Health & Safety and Facilities Project Administration and Maintenance.
The University’s stormwater permit and plan is intended to provide substantial water quality benefits, including benefits from improved control of nutrients, pathogens, solids and floatable materials, toxic and other pollutants.