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Monday, June 2, 2003

Levinson Appoints ACUA as Lead Agency to Monitor Ground Water Issues in Atlantic County

Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson announced today that he has designated the Atlantic County Utilities Authority as the lead agency responsible for monitoring groundwater issues in Atlantic County.

Levinson stated that this step was necessary because the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection is not providing local governments with the leadership and direction necessary to meaningfully participate in the development of ground water policies. Levinson cited last summer's drought restrictions, the current difficulty some developers are experiencing in receiving water allocation permits, and the state's failure to show leadership in developing wastewater recycling programs as examples of NJDEP's failure to work more cooperatively with local governments in Atlantic County.

"Although NJDEP is the agency that has full responsibility for groundwater management in New Jersey, too many decisions are being made that have an impact on our area without adequate input from our local officials." Levinson said. "I want Atlantic County to be more proactive in addressing groundwater issues. The Atlantic County Utilities Authority is recognized as a leader in the field of solid waste management and wastewater treatment. They have developed a well earned reputation as a competent and capable environmental organization. I thank them for their willingness to help in this regard and look forward to working with them in this new capacity."

According to Levinson, ACUA would work in cooperation with the County Department of Planning and Division of Public Health to accomplish the following:

Maintaining up to date information on the status of local groundwater issues such as aquifer protection, water allocation, water conservation, and wastewater recycling

Fostering greater public awareness and education regarding groundwater issues

Advising the County Executive and Board of Chosen Freeholders on emergent ground water and water quality issues and making appropriate recommendations for action

Establishing a local Advisory Board on Groundwater issues.

"I appreciate Executive Levinson's comments and the trust he has put in the Atlantic County Utilities Authority," said Matthew Gallagher, Chairman of the ACUA. "Water supply, ground water and water management are the most significant environmental issues facing the Atlantic County region today. There is a lot to do. We look forward to working with county government, water purveyors, and the state and federal agencies in a coodinated and cooperative way."

Levinson stated that his legal staff is preparing the necessary ordinance changes to be presented to the Atlantic County Board of Freeholders.

For more information, contact Howard J. Kyle, Chief of Staff, 343-2223.

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