Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Response from NJDEP on Car Wash rules

*Whew* well that was close.... According to Bruce Friedman, the Supervisor of Municipal / General Stormwater Permitting Unit of the Bureau of Nonpoint Pollution Control of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (WHAT A TITLE!):

I can assure you that there is no such pending regulation prohibiting residents from washing their vehicles. Atlantic Highlands Borough Clerk Dwayne Harris was either confused or misquoted in the Asbury Park Press article. I have personally spoken to Mr. Harris and explained to him that the requirements only apply to municipally owned vehicles.

Well that's a a relief because I'm a big fan of putting on my wife beater and gold chains on and washing my TransAms. (Seen Zoolander? HAH!) I suppose the misquote or lack of questioning Mr. Harris' story is just more evidence that the Asbury Park Press is indeed, the worst newspaper ever! It is irresponsible for the APP to have published the line "As a result, every vehicle, including municipal ones, will have to go to a car wash to be washed." without checking the facts first. Luckly, not enough people seem to read the APP, or read the details of such articles, or we might have seen a lynch mob form yesterday, although it might have been fun either way.

In any case, my rant(s) from yesterday stand - No town, Atlantic Highlands included, should be collecting, or even thinking about collecting, $1 million worth of tax payer money to start and operate a business, regardless of where the profits are to go. Having noted Mr. Harris' plan, I suggest those of you in Atlantic Highland demand a refund because according to Mr. Harris, there is about $1 million of excess tax payer money that the town has no use for and can give back. Then again, my own Long Branch operates a beach access business by selling beach badges to fund lifegaurds, beach cleaning and such - I suppose there is a line somewhere, certainly the town carwash crosses that line - the beach club, maybe not. I do think beaches should be free but then if someone expects a lifegaurd and beach combing/trash removal, someone has to pay for it, and the libertarian "voluntarism" approach to saving lives and cleaning trash doesn't seem so dependable.

Anyhow, I don't know if this Mr. Harris is Republican, Democrat, Green, Libertarian (doubtful!), etc, but I hope that voters in Atlantic Highlands unseat this gentleman in the next election, or sooner. I've never met Mr. Harris but based on the idea alone, I award him Bonehead of the Day Award and indeed hope he never represents anyone in New Jersey, or any other state in this nation again.

Furthermore, yesterday's rant about the US vs other nations (like Abu Dahbi) still stands. We still can't find a few dollars to fund a transit tunnel and they are still putting gold dust on coffee (doesn't sound tasty but whatever, point stands) while we pay $4.22/gallon this morning. We also can't find money for public schools and they are opening an NYU campus and bringing the mueseums there. What happened to the good ol' US of A?

In the meantime, I also recommend cancelling your daily subscription to the APP and investing in a decent newspaper with real reporting.

Thank you very much to Bruce Friedman for his speedy response. His full reply follows:
Mr. Hogan: I can assure you that there is no such pending regulation prohibiting residents from washing their vehicles. Atlantic Highlands Borough Clerk Dwayne Harris was either confused or misquoted in the Asbury Park Press article. I have personally spoken to Mr. Harris and explained to him that the requirements only apply to municipally owned vehicles.

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection regulates almost all municipalities in the state in an effort to improve water quality. Most municipalities have been issued a municipal stormwater general permit. One of the requirements of the permit is for municipalities to properly manage their wash water discharge from public works yards by February 28, 2009 to prevent polluting local receiving waters. A copy of the permit and the specific requirement may be found at http://www.state.nj.us/dep/dwq/pdf/final_tier_a_permit.pdf (see page 19 of 33).

If you have additional questions or would like further clarification, please contact me directly.

Thank you,

Bruce Friedman, Supervisor
Municipal / General Stormwater Permitting Unit
Bureau of Nonpoint Pollution Control
New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
dont spam Bruce Friedman at the DEP.State.NJ.US but that is his email - his email at the dep url
(609) 633-7021
Fax (609) 984-2147

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