On January 17th, Holmdel Patch linked to the Asbury Park Press's excellent piece on the dire state of water quality in New Jersey. Below is my letter to the Editor of the APP, printed on January 25th.
Your series on water quality in New Jersey (“Tainted waters,” Jan. 15-17) painted a very sobering and accurate picture of New Jersey’s imperiled water resources.
The series is timely, given that the New Jersey Legislature just passed — and Gov. Chris Christie signed — a bill to allow expansion of sewer areas, which will allow for more paving and development, and further degradation of water quality.
NY/NJ Baykeeper has two great ideas for the state Department of Environmental Protection to improve water quality: lift the ban on oyster restoration and research and stop the illegal flow of raw sewage into our waterways.
Oysters filter and clean water, but since the DEP shut down our oyster research in 2010, it has done nothing to facilitate oyster restoration and research in this region.
Additionally, the DEP knowingly allows approximately 23 billion gallons of raw sewage to be dumped into our waterways annually, in violation of the Clean Water Act.
How much is 23 billion gallons? One million gallons is roughly a swimming pool nearly as long as a football field, 50 feet wide and 10 feet deep. Now multiply that by 23,000. That’s how much.
Now multiply that problem by 30 years, which is how long the DEP has been “studying” the problem, failing to take action to keep residents safe from raw sewage. New Jerseyans — often unaware of the pollution — boat, kayak and fish in these waters, risking serious illness.
These shocking numbers and your series should inspire Garden State residents to demand clean water.