ASSEMBLY, No. 4823







Sponsored by:


District 18 (Middlesex)

Assemblyman   HERB CONAWAY, JR.

District 7 (Burlington)

Assemblyman   GARY S. SCHAER

District 36 (Bergen and Passaic)






        Requires DEP and BPU to study and promote use of microplastics filtering systems and technologies in New Jersey.



        As introduced.


An Act concerning the study and promotion of microplastics filtering systems and technologies, and supplementing Title 13 of the Revised Statutes.


        Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:


        1.       a.   As used in this section:

           Board    means the Board of Public Utilities.

           Commissioner    means the Commissioner of Environmental Protection.

           Department    means the Department of Environmental Protection.

           Microplastic    means a microbead or other miniscule piece of plastic waste that is less than five millimeters in length and that enters the environment due to the degradation of larger pieces of plastic, the shedding of microfibers from clothing and other textiles, or the use of abrasive cosmetics or hygiene products like cleansers, toothpastes, and exfoliators.

           System owner or operator    means a board, authority, local government unit, or other person or entity that owns or operates a water system or a wastewater system in the State.

        b.       Within 30 days after the effective date of this section, the Department of Environmental Protection and the Board of Public Utilities shall commence a comprehensive, collaborative study to evaluate the feasibility and benefits of using filtering systems and technologies to remove microplastics from drinking water and wastewater in the State.   The study shall be completed not more than six months after the effective date of this section, and shall include an evaluation of:

        (1)     the short-term and long-term impacts of microplastics on human health and the environment, including, but not limited to, ocean and riparian ecosystems, aquatic and marine organisms, drinking water quality, and the food chain;

        (2)     the beneficial impacts to human health and the environment that are likely to result from the increased use of microplastics filtering systems and technologies in the State;

        (3)     the different types of filtering systems and technologies that are available, on the market, for use in removing microplastics from drinking water and wastewater, and the costs thereof;

        (4)     the performance capacity of each type of filtering system or technology available on the market, including, but not limited to, the capacity of each such system or technology to adequately filter microplastics from drinking water and wastewater, and the efficiency and efficacy of each such filtering system or technology in performing its stated filtering capabilities;

        (5)     whether, and the extent to which, each available filtering system or technology is currently being used to filter microplastics from drinking water or wastewater in this or other states, or in other countries;

        (6)     the feasibility and desirability of establishing a financial incentive system, or of using other available means and methods, such as public-private partnerships, financial investments, or university involvement, to encourage and incentivize the development and successful deployment of new and effective microplastics filtering systems and technologies in the State; and

        (7)     the factors that should be considered, and determinations that should be made, by the board and by the department, when soliciting and approving proposals for microplastics filtering projects in the State.

        c.         The department and board shall authorize system owners or operators in the State to engage in pilot microplastics filtering projects, with associated pilot project data to be included in the study conducted pursuant to subsection b. of this section and in the report produced pursuant to subsection e. of this section.   The department shall solicit and approve applications for, and take other appropriate action to facilitate, the implementation of pilot microplastics filtering projects for these purposes.

        d.       In conducting the microplastics filtering study pursuant to subsection b. of this section, the department and board shall cooperatively engage in a robust stakeholder engagement process, which shall include consultation with, and the solicitation of testimony and information from:  

        (1)     professionals, businesses, organizations, and agencies having particular experience or expertise in one or more of the following areas:   (a) the operation of water supply, water treatment, or wastewater collection or treatment systems; (b) the operation of water filtering systems or technologies; (c) the proper handling or disposal of microplastics; or (d) the study or remediation of water pollution or contaminants;

        (2)     marine biologists, oceanographers, water quality specialists, environmental scientists, toxicologists, public health experts, and other members of appropriate scientific fields;

        (3)     representatives of the plastics manufacturing industry;

        (4)     members of the public; and

        (5)     other relevant and interested parties.

        e.         Not more than three months after the microplastics filtering study is concluded, pursuant to subsection b. of this section, the commissioner and the President of the board shall cooperatively prepare and submit a written repor