The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is out with a new report that says more than half of the nation's river and stream miles are in poor condition, with high levels of pollution and bacteria.

Shrewsbury River
Shrewsbury River (Flickr User DanCentury)

Rivers and streams in the Garden State are either in really bad or good shape, depending on who you ask.

"New Jersey is being impacted by over-development, so there's increasing problems with sewer plant discharge and runoff from lawns sprayed with fertilizer. We may be the first state east of the Rockies that could actually run out of water, not because of drought, but because of pollution," says the head of the New Jersey Sierra Club, Jeff Tittel.

He adds every year some of our streams and rivers get so low and so dirty during the summer that we can't use them for drinking water, and wells keep getting contaminated from historic pollution from old factories and dry cleaners, landfills and other things.

New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection spokesman Larry Ragonese strongly disagrees.

"That statement is so absurd it's almost doesn't warrant a rebuttal. New Jersey is not running out of water due to pollution. We have good quality water across our state," he says. "Our water quality in Jersey is really good and we've made tremendous strides in improving that water."

Ragonese labels the Tittel statement as "ridiculous," and "really alarmist."

He says New Jersey now has the toughest fertilizer law in the nation, when it comes to putting materials onto your lawn, and because we've established an extensive water quality monitoring network, and the DEP has a one hundred million dollar storm water runoff project in the works.

More From New Jersey 101.5 FM