ENVIRONMENTAL RESOURCE INVENTORY
SOMERSET COUNTY, NEW JERSEY
July 8, 2008
Amy S. Greene Environmental Consultants, Inc.
4 Walter E. Foran Boulevard, Suite 209
Flemington, New Jersey 08822
ASGECI Project #2907
This document was prepared with the aid of a Smart Growth Planning Grant
from the Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions
The Environmental Resource Inventory has been Funded by the Township of Franklin and
through a Smart Growth Planning Grant from the
Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions (ANJEC)
Included below are the various individuals who have assisted the creation of this
Environmental Resource Inventory
Brian Levine, Mayor
Bonnie von Ohlen, Grants Administrator
John Loos, Township Environmental Consultant
Michael J. Orsini, Chair, Shade Tree Commission
Mark Healy, Director of Planning
Franklin Township Environmental Commission Members:
Arnold S.Vernick, Chair
Arnold W. Schmidt, Vice Chair
Theodore Chase, Jr.
David E. Triggs
Ernesto Cruz Roman
Kerry Miller, Assistant Director, ANJEC
TABLE OF CONTENTS Page #
1.0 INTRODUCTION ....................................................................................................... 1
1.1 General Information......................................................................................... 1
1.2 Conservation in Franklin.................................................................................. 1
2.0 HISTORY.................................................................................................................... 4
2.1 Early History.................................................................................................... 4
2.2 Historic Resources ........................................................................................... 5
2.3 Historic Preservation........................................................................................ 8
3.0 CLIMATOLOGY...................................................................................................... 10
4.0 GEOLOGY................................................................................................................ 12
4.1 Physiography.................................................................................................. 12
4.2 Stratigraphy and Surficial Formations ........................................................... 12
4.3 Aquifers and Recharge Areas ........................................................................ 13
4.4 Potable Water Supply .................................................................................... 16
4.5 Aquifer Contamination .................................................................................. 17
4.6 Wellhead Protection....................................................................................... 22
4.7 Sole Source Aquifers ..................................................................................... 23
4.8 Known Contaminated Sites............................................................................ 24
4.9 USEPA Superfund Sites ................................................................................ 26
5.0 SOILS ........................................................................................................................ 29
5.1 Soil Types ...................................................................................................... 29
5.2 Prime Farmland.............................................................................................. 32
5.3 Hydric Soils ................................................................................................... 33
5.4 Major Soil Series Descriptions ...................................................................... 33
5.5 Steep Slopes ................................................................................................... 36
5.6 Soil Erosion and Sediment Control................................................................ 37
5.7 Acid Producing Soils ..................................................................................... 38
6.0 WATER RESOURCES ............................................................................................. 39
6.1 WMAs, Drainage Basins and Major Surface Water Features ....................... 39
6.2 Surface Water Quality Classification............................................................. 42
6.3 Surface Water Quality.................................................................................... 43
6.4 Surface Water Quality Protection .................................................................. 53
6.5 Floodplains and FHA Control Act Rules....................................................... 56
7.0 WETLANDS.............................................................................................................. 60
7.1 Definition and Identifying Factors................................................................. 60
7.2 Wetland Locations ......................................................................................... 61
7.3 Wetland Resource Value Classification......................................................... 61
7.4 Wetland Communities ................................................................................... 62
TABLE OF CONTENTS - Continued Page #
8.0 AIR QUALITY.......................................................................................................... 70
8.1 Regional Air Quality – Criteria Pollutants..................................................... 70
8.2 Regional Air Quality - Air Toxics ................................................................. 71
9.0 LAND USE................................................................................................................ 73
9.1 Land Use/Cover Types .................................................................................. 73
9.2 Land Use/Land Cover Descriptions............................................................... 74
9.3 Open Space…………………………………………………………………..85
10.0 WILDLIFE................................................................................................................. 90
10.1 Fisheries ......................................................................................................... 90
10.2 Endangered and Threatened Wildlife Species .............................................. 92
10.3 The Landscape Project ................................................................................... 92
10.4 Franklin’s Threatened and Endangered Species Descriptions...................... 95
10.5 Rare, Endangered and Threatened Plant Species……………….……...…. 102
10.6 Forest Fragmentation and Corridors ............................................................ 103
10.7 Regulatory Protection for Endangered and Threatened Species.................. 104
11.0 FIGURES................................................................................................................. 106
Figure 1 Location
Figure 2 USGS Topography
Figure 3 Aerial Photography
Figure 4 Geology
Figure 5 Wellhead Protection Areas and Known Contaminated Sites
Figure 6 Groundwater Recharge
Figure 7 Soils
Figure 8 Slopes
Figure 9 Watersheds
Figure 10 Surface Water Quality
Figure 11 FEMA Floodplains
Figure 12 Wetlands
Figure 13 Land Use/Land Cover 1995
Figure 14 Land Use /Land Cover 2002
Figure 15 Recent Development 2002-2008
Figure 16 State Owned Open Space
Figure 17 Landscape Project Forest And Grassland
Figure 18 Landscape Project Wetland
Figure 19 Landscape Project Wood Turtle
12.0 REFERENCES ........................................................................................................ 126
APPENDIX A: WILDLIFE INVENTORY LISTS FOR FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP
APPENDIX B: TOWNSHIP OF FRANKLIN PHOTOGRAPHS WITH DESCRIPTIONS
APPENDIX C: NJDEP NATURAL HERITAGE PROGRAM DATA
APPENDIX D: STREAM SAMPLE LOCATION MAP – FRANKLIN EC STUDY
APPENDIX E: 2008 PRESERVED LAND MAP
1.1 General Information
Franklin Township is a particularly diverse community with a wide representation of races and
cultures. As with its human population, Franklin is diverse in land use, historic and natural
resources. The Township’s land uses range from dense residential development to expansive
agricultural areas and forest. It contains a variety of quality forests and grassland vegetation
communities, forested and emergent wetlands and geology with characteristics of both the
Piedmont and Inner Coastal Plain Provinces.
Franklin Township is located within southeastern Somerset County in Central New Jersey
(Section 11, Location Map Figure). The Township is approximately 30,000 acres or 46.8 sq. mi.
and partially bounded by the Millstone River to the west, and the Raritan River to the north.
Approximately 0.1 sq. mi. or 0.15% of the municipality is mapped as surface water.
Municipalities that border Franklin Township to the west include Montgomery Township, Rocky
Hill Borough, Hillsborough Township, Millstone Borough, Princeton Township and Manville
Borough. Bridgewater Township, Piscataway Township and South Bound Brook Borough border
the Township to the north; and, New Brunswick City and North and South Brunswick
Townships (all Middlesex County) border the Township to the east.
Franklin Township is comprised of multiple historical communities, unincorporated enclaves and
census designated areas. These communities include Blackwells Mills, East Millstone, Franklin
Park, Griggstown, portions of Kingston, Middlebush, Weston and Zarephath. The Township also
includes Somerset, which comprises the majority of the municipal population.
According to US Census data, the population of Franklin had grown from 19,858 (NJDOL) in
1960 to 42,780 in 1990, representing a 46.4 % growth rate. At the time of the US Census (2000),
there were 50,903 people living in Franklin Township. As of 2006, the population estimation for
Franklin Township was 60,273 residents. This number represents an 18.4 % population increase
from the 2000 census. The rapid growth of Franklin Township since the 1960s is reflected in the
heavy residential development of the municipality over that time period. In 2000, the population
density was approximately 1088 people per sq. mi.
1.2 Conservation in Franklin
To help meet the pressures on natural resources from a growing population, Franklin Township
has implemented a number of conservation measures in the form of municipal ordinances,
projects and municipal plans. Through its municipal planners, commissions and committees
including Open Space, Historic Preservation and Environmental Commissions, Franklin
Township has been progressive in protecting its natural and cultural resources. The Township
has actively pursued the preservation of farmland and open space through the purchase of lands
and development rights. To date, approximately 32 percent of the Township has been preserved
as open space. The municipality has partnered with various organizations including the Stony
Brook Millstone Watershed Association to aid in the identification of critical water resource
areas and to receive guidance for their protection (SBMWA, 2005). Franklin has partnered with
the NJ Audubon Society in the creation and management of the Negri-Nepote and Griggstown
Grassland Preserves which serve as valuable wildlife habitat resources within the municipality.
The Township has conducted a water quality study with guidance from the New Jersey
Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) and developed a detailed priority forest study
in 1986. In addition, Franklin has developed the Bunker Hill Environmental Education center,
which aids in school students’ understanding of conservation and ecology. These conservation
initiatives are reflected in the 2006 Master Plan, which sets specific conservation goals for the
Township under its Conservation Plan Element.
The Conservation Plan Element of the Franklin Township Master Plan (March, 2006) was
created with the intention of developing a pathway for the best preservation or conservation of
the municipality’s natural resources. Resources specifically identified include energy, open
space, water supply and quality, forests, soils, wetlands, and threatened and endangered species
habitat. Specific goals and objectives stated in the Conservation Plan Element include the
Goal: To conserve open space, rural character, scenic vistas, sensitive environmental areas and
Identify and protect resources by continued use of the Open Space Trust Fund and noncontiguous
Maintain open space and link to other open spaces and community resources
Maintain clustering as a design technique which preserves open space and protects
environmentally sensitive areas
Limit the extension of utilities to currently approved service areas, unless otherwise
indicated in the Master Plan
Promote retention of wildlife and species diversity by conserving continuous tracts of
differing vegetative types
Maintain design standards to protect the Township’s historic and rural character,
particularly in villages and among scenic corridors
Continue to support the Right to Farm Ordinance
Strongly enforce limits on impervious coverage and encourage innovative water quality
enhancement techniques in site design
Goal: Protect water quality in Township streams, the Millstone and Raritan Rivers, and the
Delaware and Raritan Canal.
Franklin Township, with support from the Association for New Jersey Environmental
Commissions (ANJEC), has developed this municipal Environmental Resource Inventory (ERI).
The purpose of the Franklin Township ERI is to identify and describe the diverse natural and
cultural resources and environmental features within the Township. The ERI provides both
visual depictions of natural resources, in the form of mapping information (Section 11, Figures),
and text that describes these resources, their sensitivities and limitations for development and
suggested measures for protection of sensitive resources. The text has been gathered from
existing resources, reports and studies provided by County, State and Federal agencies, and nongovernment
Franklin Township’s original ERI was created by the Environmental Commission in 1977 with
the intent of providing a guide for Township planners by identifying a series of land use
constraints (hydrological, geological, soil and basic vegetation limitations) and cross referencing
them with various land uses to create a systematic planning review process. The ERI did not
provide significant detail on contemporary land use, land cover and wildlife resources, but was
important as a starting point for the creation of Township ordinances.
The ERI should be periodically reviewed and updated with regard to changes in land use, the
quality and quantity of environmental resources and local, State and Federal laws. Reviews of
the ERI content are necessary to accurately document the progression of the municipality over
time and to keep the ERI functioning as a legitimate tool for planning.
The ERI is designed to serve as a general guideline for determining Franklin’s priority resources
and their locations within the municipality. No fieldwork, within the Township or otherwise,
was conducted specifically for this report. Although the ERI provides vital guidance for field
activities, it is not a substitute for site specific surveys. Activities such as wetland delineations,
wildlife studies and groundwater testing require in situ studies for conclusively determining the
presence of various resources, impacts and other detailed site specific conditions. Once field data
are collected and verified, they may be directly incorporated into the ERI in future revisions.
2.1 Early History
Evidence suggests that Paleo-Indians settled the Raritan Valley as early as 12,000 years ago.
This is evidenced by the presence of clovis type points discovered just west of Franklin in
neighboring Hillsborough Township. The “Lenape” or Delaware Indians were the indigenous
people of Franklin Township when Europeans first settled the region. The Lenape Indians
consisted of three major divisions: the Minsi in northern New Jersey, the Unami in central New
Jersey and the Unalatchtigo in southern New Jersey. The Raritan Indians of the Unami subtribe
(translated as “People Down the River”) occupied the region of the Raritan River including the
Raritan Bay and Staten Island, and were present in the vicinity of Franklin Township.
Indigenous sites of NJ are typically found within 300 feet of water and often situated in areas
with well-drained soils, level topography, historic trails, and a decent vantage point. Prehistoric
evidence of Lenape campsites would typically include pottery fragments, fireplace stones, and
stone chips/unfinished tools or other evidence of tool making (Skinner and Schrabisch, 1913).
Areas along the Raritan and Millstone Rivers would be the most likely to contain prehistoric and
indigenous evidence in Franklin Township.
While it is important to note that major development of the region, including soil disturbance and
impervious cover creation, reduces the probability of finding regional archaeological evidence,
sites have historically been identified throughout the Raritan River Drainage. A study conducted
by the NJ Geological Survey in 1913 revealed the presence of multiple campsites and artifacts
(including two burial grounds) along the Green, Bound, and Ambrose Brooks, across the Raritan
River just north of Franklin. At the time, it was suspected that similar findings may occur along
the Millstone and Raritan Rivers (Spier, 1915).
The first Europeans to settle the area that is now Franklin Township were Dutch settlers that
traded with the local indigenous people of the area around 1650 and the oldest existing houses
within the Township date from the 1720s. Franklin Township was initially formed in circa 1745
as Eastern Precinct. The Township was part of the State’s initial 104 townships incorporated by
the New Jersey Legislature on February 21, 1798. The Township was either named for founding
father and patriot Benjamin Franklin or for his illegitimate son William Franklin, the Loyalist
Governor of New Jersey (1763-1776). In 1998, the Township Council officially adopted the
theory that the Township was named for Benjamin Franklin (www.franklintwpnj.org).
The Revolutionary War is central to Franklin Township history. For a time during the war, the
British occupied Franklin and the British Generals Cornwallis and De Heister attempted to
engage Washington within the vicinity of East Millstone and Middlebush. Washington
remained outside of Franklin until the British withdrew (Meadows Foundation). The British
destroyed a number of Middlebush homes during their retreat of the region. Franklin was the
site of minor Revolutionary War conflicts, and raids were sometimes conducted from Kings
Highway (Rt. 27 today).
In 1834, a twenty-two mile section of the Delaware and Raritan (D and R) Canal was built within
Franklin, providing the Township with what is today one of its most significant historic features.
During the Civil War, the canal was a vital means of freight transportation between Philadelphia
and New York and vital to the local economy. In 1854, the Pennsylvania Railroad Company
opened the Millstone and New Brunswick Railroad, which provided passenger and freight
service within Franklin. As railroads became the most dominant form of freight transportation
during the later 19th century, the D and R Canal system of freight transport became functionally
obsolete. The D&R Canal was closed as a transport system in 1933 and became part of the
public water system. In 1975, the D&R Canal State Park was created.
2.2 Historic Resources
Franklin Township is replete with 18th and 19th century historic sites and structures. Fine
examples of these resources include the Van Wickle House, located next to the D and R Canal
(built in 1722 by Dutch Settlers) and the Rockingham Historic Site in Kingston, which contains
the house occupied by George Washington for over two months in 1783 as he prepared his
“Farewell Orders to the Armies of the United States”. The wealth of historic resources of
Franklin Township is reflected in the multiple listings on the State and National Registers of
Historic Places; including the following eight historic districts:
The Delaware and Raritan (D and R) Canal Historic District includes the Canal bed and 100
yards to either side of the Canal center line and runs through six counties between the Delaware
and Raritan Rivers. The D and R District contains multiple State and Nationally Registered
Historic Places including the Van Wickle House. Historic districts specific to Franklin within
the D and R Canal Historic District include Rocky Hill, Griggstown, parts of Six Mile Run, and
The East Millstone Historic District is located in the northwestern portion of Franklin
Township along Amwell Road adjacent to the D and R Canal Historic District.
Listed on the State and National Register in 1984, the Griggstown Historic District
incorporates portions of the Millstone River in both Franklin and Montgomery Townships.
King’s Highway Historic District is located in Princeton, South Brunswick, Lawrence and
Franklin Townships and is comprised of portions of Route 206 and NJ Route 27. The Kings
Highway was a major route between New York and Philadelphia during the 18th century and
played a significant role in military movements during the Revolutionary War. Listed on the
National register in 1990, the Kingston Village Historic District is located in Somerset, Mercer
and Middlesex Counties and incorporates portions of NJ Route 27.
Rocky Hill Historic District extends across the Millstone River into Franklin where the village
originally stood. The district includes two houses from 1722 and 1786 and was listed on both the
State and National Register in 1982.
Six Mile Run Historic District includes portions of the State Reservoir Area and includes two
sections in the vicinity of South Middlebush and Suydam Roads, and Cortelyous and Jacques
Lanes. The district was listed on the State and National Register in 1995 and 1993 respectively.
Middlebush Village Historic District is adjacent to Six Mile Run Historic District. The
Middlebush Historic District designation was recently under consideration for registration and
review by the State Historic Preservation Office. It was listed on the State Register in February,
2007 and on the National Register in April, 2007.
The Proposed Franklin Park Historic District is located on the border of Franklin and South
Brunswick Townships. It includes two State and Nationally Registered Historic Places including
the Abraham Voorhees House and the Six Mile Run Reformed Church.
Additional Individual Structures on the National Register in Franklin:
Rockingham Located at 84 Laurel Ave., Kingston, the house is a State Historic Site first
constructed between 1702 and 1710, with additions in the 1760s by owner John Berrien, a farmer
and NJ Supreme Court Judge. It is noted for being the temporary residence of George
Washington in 1783 as he addressed the Continental Congress in Princeton and prepared his
“Farewell Orders to the Armies of the United States.”
Tulipwood Located at 1165 Hamilton St. in Somerset, the house was constructed in 1892. The
“Shingle Style” of this house is considered rare in Somerset County. The style is characterized
by extensive use of shingles on the roof and house sides. It is currently owned by Franklin
Township and operated by the Meadows Foundation (see Section 2.3 below).
Van Wickle House (The Meadows) The house is located on 1289 Easton Ave. Constructed in
1722 by Symen Van Wickle, the house is a classic example of “Dutch” style which is actually a
combination of English, Dutch and Flemish styles. The house in maintained by the Meadows
Foundation (see Section 2.3 below).
A complete list of the State and National Register of Historic Places within Franklin from the
State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) is included in Table 1 below (last updated 8/6/2007).
The listings in the table below itemize the buildings, structures, sites, objects, and districts listed
on the New Jersey Register of Historic Places (SR) and the National Register of Historic Places
(NR), Certifications of Eligibility (COE) and opinions of eligibility from the SHPO (SHPO
Opinion). The properties and historic districts listed in the table meet the New Jersey and
National Register criteria for significance in American history, archaeology, architecture,
engineering or culture, and possess integrity of location, design, setting, materials, workmanship,
feeling and association (see Section 2.3).
Table 1 NJ and National Registers of Historic Places within Franklin
TABLE INSERT HERE
2.3 Historic Preservation
Historic Preservation is the identification, evaluation and protection of historic and
archaeological resources. Historic properties are links to the past that provide a physical record
of the events and people that shaped our history. Historic preservation includes saving historic
properties, conserving natural landscapes and scenic views. In New Jersey the public
commitment to implement historic preservation is defined by three distinct designation types:
National Register of Historic Places, the New Jersey Register of Historic Places and designation
by a municipality pursuant to the authority of the New Jersey Municipal Land Use Law.
The National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 established the National Register of Historic
Places as the official list of historic resources worthy of preservation. The NJ Register of
Historic Places Act of 1970 established the New Jersey Register of Historic Places as the state’s
official list of historic places. The New Jersey Register is modeled after the National Register
and uses the same criteria for establishing eligibility. Listing of a property in the New Jersey
Register of Historic Places provides recognition of a property’s historic importance and assures
protective review of public projects that might adversely affect the character of the historic
property. However, listing on the National or State Register only affects public undertakings and
does not prevent a private property owner from altering or even demolishing a listed property.
The most effective protection of historic resources is designation and regulation at the municipal
Franklin Township has taken action to preserve its natural resources through municipal
ordnances including the Historic District Overlay areas and the establishment of the Historic
Preservation Commission (Franklin Municipal Code, Chapter 112 Land Use, Section 200). The
Historic Preservation Commission advises the Planning Board and Zoning Board of
Adjustment on development applications which may impact historic resources in designated
historic district overlay zones of East Millstone, Kingston, Franklin Park, Middlebush, and
within 1000 feet of the D and R Canal. The Historic Preservation Plan Element of the Master
Plan (2006) sets goals and objectives for the preservation and protection of historic resources in
Franklin. These goals include the following:
Promote the preservation and restoration of the Township’s historic buildings, sites and
Protect historic structures located in historic districts from insensitive encroachment and
renovation and/or demolition
Protect historic viewsheds
To achieve these goals, Franklin has considered the adoption of an amended Historic
Preservation Ordinance which would increase protection of existing or newly designated historic
sites or properties by establishing criteria or standards for site plan reviews. It would also
increase the powers and duties of the Historic Preservation Commission. A Certificate of
Historic Appropriateness would be required for any work performed on a designated historic site.
The Township has adopted a Redevelopment Ordinance which has resulted in the preservation of
the Franklin Inn (ca. 1751) in East Millstone and the adjacent bridge tender’s house as well as
houses at the end of Georgetown Road that represent the original settlement of Rocky Hill.
The Meadows Foundation The Meadows Foundation is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization
formed in 1977 to promote understanding of Dutch and early American heritage through the
preservation of historic sites, development of public programs and awareness for local culture
and architecture, and support for environmental issues including open space and farmland
Much of the Meadows Foundation’s efforts are focused on Franklin Township’s historic
resources, and the organization oversees seven Township properties constructed between the
early 18th century and the late 19th century. The “Meadows” is a reference to the Van Wickle
House property, a (c.1722) structure managed by the organization. Other properties managed by
the organization include the Hageman Farm (c.1810), the Van Liew-Suydam House (c. 1755),
the Wycoff-Garretson House (c. 1705-10), the Franklin Inn (c. 1752) and Tulipwood (c. 1892).
The Meadows Foundation may be reached at 1289 Easton Avenue, Somerset, NJ 08873 (732)
828-7418. e-mail: email@example.com
New Jersey experiences a significant variation in temperature between the summer and winter
months and large daily and day-to-day fluctuations. In the winter, New Jersey’s climate is
influenced by the semi-permanent high pressure that forms over Canada and the northern Great
Plains. Strong surges of cold air borne on prevailing winds from the northwest drag cold polar
air masses to the southeast over the eastern United States. Storm centers often accompany these
cold polar masses of air. In spring, the high pressure over Canada weakens and a Bermuda high
develops over the Atlantic Ocean. The clockwise flow around this high pressure system results
in prevailing winds from the south and southwest, carrying moist tropical and maritime air from
the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean. In autumn, the Bermuda high weakens and retreats to the
south. During this transition period, New Jersey often experiences mild and tranquil weather as
weak high pressure moves slowly southeast from Canada. The winter circulation pattern slowly
becomes reestablished by December, ushering in our winter weather.
In spite of New Jersey’s small size (7,836 square miles), the Office of the State Climatologist
identifies five distinct climate zones in the state: The Northern; Central; Pine Barrens;
Southwest; and Coastal. The region’s geology, distance from the Atlantic Ocean, and prevailing
atmospheric flow patterns produce distinct variations in the daily weather between each of these
zones. Franklin Township is wholly located within the Central Climate Zone.
The Central Zone has a northeast to southwest orientation, running from New York Harbor and
the Lower Hudson River to the great bend of the Delaware River in the vicinity of Trenton. The
region is marked by higher levels of pollutants associated with industry and increased
automobile traffic as compared to rural areas within the state. Concentrations of buildings and
paved areas within these areas tend to retain heat, creating slightly warmer ambient temperatures
than surrounding rural areas. Referred to as “heat islands,” these warm zones occur frequently
within the urbanized parts of the Central Climate Zone (ONJSC, 2006).
The northern edge of the Central Climate Zone often serves as a boundary between freezing
precipitation and rain during the winter. The Central Zone tends to have 15-20 days above 90
degrees Fahrenheit in the summertime; generally half as many as in areas south of this zone
The National Weather Service’s Cooperative Observer Program (COOP) provides weather and
climate data through weather stations nationwide. The data provided in Table 2 represent mean
climate data for approximately 100 years from a sampling station in Somerville (COOP id #
Table 2 Mean Climate Data for Somerville 1892-2000
INSERT TABLE HERE
Additional information from Office of the State Climatologist, www.
climate.rutgers.edu/stateclim_v1/monthly data provide data from the Somerville Station and
weather and climate trends throughout the state.
Physiography is the relationship between a particular location and its underlying geology. New
Jersey includes four major physiographic provinces, the Ridge and Valley, Highlands, Piedmont
and the Atlantic Coastal Plain. Franklin Township is located entirely within New Jersey’s
Piedmont Province, also known as the Triassic Lowlands.
The Piedmont is a 1,600 square mile area occupying approximately 1/5th of New Jersey. It is
situated in northern and central New Jersey between the Highlands and Coastal Plain Provinces.
The Piedmont is generally characterized by gently rolling plains of elevations typically between
200 to 400 feet, separated by a series of erodable ridges (NJGS, 2003).
New Jersey portions of the Piedmont incorporate the counties of Essex, Hudson, Union,
Hunterdon, and Somerset, most of Bergen, and parts of Mercer, Middlesex, Morris, and Passaic.
It is predominantly comprised of mildly folded and faulted sedimentary rocks of Triassic and
Jurassic age (240 to 140 million years old), and Jurassic age igneous rocks that comprise ridge
areas within the formation.
Varying soil types have developed in the Piedmont as a result of glacial influences occurring at
various periods over parts of the province. Vegetation communities within the region are more
influenced by the specific hydrological regime than soil variation (Collins and Anderson, 1994).
4.2 Stratigraphy and Surficial Formations
The underlying bedrock geology of Franklin Township primarily consists of Triassic Age
siltstones, shales, sandstones and conglomerates. These Triassic rock formations outcrop (are
exposed at the land surface) throughout much of Franklin Township. Also included is a band of
Jurassic Diabase along the southernmost portion of the Township. The underlying geology of the
Township significantly influences the soils and subsequently the municipality’s
vegetation/ecological communities and agricultural productivity. The variable resistance to
erosion of the formations within the Township results in varying elevations. The erosion
resistant basalt rocks tend to be associated with slightly higher elevations and igneous rock
outcrops in the southern portions of the Township (see Section 11, Figure 4).
The Triassic and Jurassic (Mesozoic) formations beneath Franklin Township are part of a
massive geological formation referred to as the Newark Basin. The Basin was created during the
breakup of the Pangea Supercontinent about 250 to 200 Million Years Ago (MYA). Covering
about 3,000 square miles and extending for 137 miles through New Jersey, southern New York
State and southeastern Pennsylvania, the Newark Basin is the largest of the exposed divisions of
the Newark Supergroup and contains primarily siltstone and shales up to 11,000 feet thick on its
western edge (USGS, 2003).
Olsen (1980) describes the Newark Supergroup as detrital fill found in elongate basins over
32,000 feet thick in some locations throughout eastern North America (from Maine to South
Carolina). The formations include sedimentary rocks, primarily red clastic (formed from other
rocks); and intrusive and extrusive diabases and basalt volcanic rocks. Some formations of the
Newark Basin are noted for having plant, vertebrate and invertebrate fossils from a 35 million
year period in the Early Mesozoic Era.
NJDEP geologic mapping identifies four geologic units outcropping in Franklin Township (see
Section 11, Figure 4). The descriptions here are summarized from the NJDEP, NJ Geological
Survey Descriptions and listed from uppermost to lowest:
Magothy Formation The Magothy formation is the uppermost formation within Franklin
Township. The formation outcrops in two small locations near the intersections of State
Highway 27 and Ragany; and Coppermine and Old Georgetown Road in the southern portion of
the Township (see Section 11, Figure 4). The Magothy formation consists of unconsolidated fine
to coarse grained quartz sand, interbedded with thin-bedded clay or clay-silt. Locations within
Franklin represent isolated pockets of this formation within the Piedmont Province. The
Magothy formation outcrops extensively along the northern edge of the Inner Coastal Plain
approximately three miles south of the southern tip of Franklin Township. This formation is
associated with acid producing soils (see Section 5.7).
Jurassic Diabase The Jurassic diabase is found in the southernmost portions of the Township
from the vicinity of Rockingham eastward to Little Rocky Hill and northward to the vicinity of
Sunset Hill Garden. The diabase is a fine grained dark gray to black igneous trap rock that forms
from intrusive magma between sedimentary layers. Jurassic diabase is hard and more erosion
resistant than the surrounding sedimentary formations. This weathering resistance results in
slightly higher elevations where it is located within Franklin. Wells within Jurassic diabase
aquifers tend to have poor yields (see Section 4.3).
Passaic Formation (Lower Jurassic Upper Triassic) The Passaic Formation is the dominant
bedrock of Franklin Township and outcrops throughout the majority of the Township. The
Passaic Formation consists of reddish brown thick to thin bedded shale, siltstone and very fine to
coarse grained sandstone, and black, gray or greenish shales.
Passaic Formation Gray Bed This portion of the Passaic formation primarily extends in very
narrow bands in a southwest/northeast direction through the central and southern portion of the
Township. It also extends through the northern portion of the Township in two separate patches.
This formation is comprised of cycles 7 to 23 ft. finely laminated gray bed sequences consisting
of shales, siltstone and mudstone.
4.3 Aquifers and Recharge Areas
An aquifer is a saturated permeable geologic unit that can transmit significant quantities of water
under ordinary hydraulic gradients. The most common aquifers are those geologic formations
that have relatively high hydraulic conductivity values, such as unconsolidated sands and
gravels, permeable sedimentary rocks such as sandstone and limestone, and heavily fractured
sedimentary, volcanic and crystalline rocks.
The groundwater that comprises an aquifer is derived from that part of precipitation that does not
run off the surface of the land to streams or return to the atmosphere through evaporation and
transpiration. Factors which determine the amount of water that infiltrates to the groundwater
aquifer include the porosity and permeability of the surficial material, the slope of the land, the
amount and kind of natural and artificial cover, and the intensity and amount of precipitation.
The process of water infiltrating a groundwater aquifer is referred to as “recharge.” Within
Franklin Township, groundwater recharge generally ranges from 11 to 14 inches per year
throughout much of the northern and southern portions of the Township. These areas are
interspersed with recharge areas of 9 to 10 inches per year. Much of the agricultural areas of
central Franklin contain recharge areas within this range. Some developed areas, particularly in
the northern and eastern parts of the municipality, have 1 to 8 inches of groundwater recharge
per year (see Section 11, Figure 6).
Aquifers are generally equated to the name of the geologic formation in which they exist, but in
actuality do not necessarily correspond to the defined boundary of the mapped geologic
formation. NJDEP mapping indicates that the primary bedrock aquifer associated with Franklin
Township is the Brunswick aquifer. The Potomac-Raritan–Magothy (PRM) aquifer and the
Jurassic Diabase aquifers are associated with their corresponding geological formations in the
southern portion of the Township.
Various aquifers have different well yields depending on characteristics of the aquifers and may
range from one to 3,000 gallons per minute (GPM) within the state of NJ. The NJ Geological
Survey has assigned a well yield ranking system for the aquifers of the state based on the
findings of high capacity wells. The aquifers are ranked from A to E depending on gallons per
minute yield. The ranks are as follows: E, less than 25 gpm; D, 25 to 100 gpm; C, greater than
100 gpm to 250 gpm; B, greater than 250 gpm to 500 gpm; and A, greater than 500 gpm. Each
county's yield data were analyzed and ranked based upon this ranking system. The metadata for
this ranking system is found at the NJDEP NJ Geology survey at
www.state.nj.us/dep/njgs/geodata/dgs07-1/readme.htm. It is important to consider that the well
yield data collected for this ranking system is from high capacity wells and does not represent all
wells located within the aquifer. High capacity wells are often created after thorough hydrologic
and geologic investigations and may be installed near surface waters that contribute to wellyields
(Muhall and Demicco, 2004).
There are two main types of aquifers – confined and unconfined. Confined aquifers are situated
such that less permeable formations (called aquitards) are located above and below the aquifer,
confining the groundwater in the aquifer. The aquifers nearest the ground surface are generally
unconfined aquifers. An actively pumped well in an unconfined aquifer can draw down the
surface water table in the vicinity of the well when pumped, affecting nearby surface water
bodies (Freeze and Cherry, 1979). Friable (broken) layers closest to the surface of the
Brunswick aquifer are unconfined. The aquifer becomes more confined with depths below 50
feet, however leakage between the large blocky rock confining units may occur in these
generally confined aquifer sections. Within the Magothy and Raritan formations, confined
conditions exist in some deeper wells (typically 500-900 feet) (NJWSA, 2002) but are otherwise
The rocks of Franklin’s Piedmont formations, including shales, sandstones, siltstones,
mudstones, and diabase sills transmit water between fractures from faults, joints or changes in
the bedding planes (Mulhall and Demicco, 2004). The amount of water storage and transmission
through these rocks depends on the separation distance between fractures, which may range from
several inches in some types of rocks to several feet in others (Muhall and Demicco, 2004).
This aquifer derives its name from its association with the Brunswick Formation, currently
known as the Passaic Formation (See Section 4.2). Aquifers within the Newark Basin exist
within the weathered joint and fracture systems of shales within the upper 200 – 300 ft (USGS,
2005; Barksdale, 1943). Fracture areas are smaller and water availability lessens below 500 feet
within the formation. Intergranular spaces within the aquifer and coarser grained sandstones also
hold water (USGS, 2005). The shale and sandstone portions of the Brunswick Aquifer tend to be
the most productive and contain wells known to yield up to 1500 gallons per minute (gpm)
(Carswell and Rooney, 1976). Within Somerset County, the Brunswick Aquifer high capacity
well yields range from 20 to 460 gpm with a mean of 188 gpm, giving it a “C” ranking. A
USGS study of 709 domestic wells within Stony Brook, Beden Brook and Jacob’s Creek
drainage basins resulted in a median well yield of 15 gpm for Passaic Formation wells,
exceptionally lower than the high capacity well yields (Muhall and Demicco, 2004).
Potomac –Raritan –Magothy (PRM) Aquifer
The PRM aquifer is a wedge-shaped formation consisting of Cretaceous age sediments deposited
in alternating layers of clay, silt, sand, and gravel. The aquifer thickens throughout the outer
coastal plain from a very thin layer near the outcrop to more than 4,100 feet beneath Cape May
County (USEPA, 1988). The PRM aquifer system is divided into two subaquifers: The
Farrington aquifer (mainly Raritan age) and the Old Bridge aquifer (Magothy age). The small
sections of the PRM within Franklin Township are associated with the Old Bridge Aquifer. This
aquifer is directly associated with the outcropping of the Magothy formation in southern
Franklin. Although having an extremely limited range within the Township, this aquifer is
Franklin’s most productive and is given an “A” ranking, indicating productivity of over 500
GPM on high capacity wells. Undeveloped areas associated with this aquifer are considered to
be the most important water supply areas within the Township (SBMWA, 2005).
The dense, poorly fractured rocks of diabase do not easily store or transmit water. As a result the
Jurassic diabase aquifers of Somerset County have low productivity and the high capacity wells
are given an “E” ranking by NJDEP, indicating less than 25 GPM. A study of Hunterdon
County diabase aquifers (Kasabach, 1966) found wells ranging from 0 to 55 gpm with a median
yield of 5 gpm. USGS studies indicate that drilling beyond 125 feet within diabase does not
result in increased well yield (Muhall and Demicco, 2004).
4.4 Potable Water Supply
Water systems are classified as community or noncommunity systems. Community water
systems contain no less than 15 service connections used by year round residents, or regularly
serve at least 25 year round residents. Examples include municipal systems and mobile home
The Franklin Township Department of Public Works supplies public community water to the
majority of the Township residents. The remaining portion of municipal residences (>25%)
utilize private individual wells. These residencies are primarily in the southern portion of the
Township (Patricia Elliot, Franklin Health Department, Personal Communication, 2008).
According to the NJDEP Source Water Assessment Report, the Franklin Township Department
of Public Works purchases all of the public community system water from four community water
systems outside of the Township:
South Brunswick Water Department (PWSID # 12211004) - Water from this system comes from
three wells within the middle Potomac-Raritan –Magothy (PRM) Aquifer.
New Brunswick Water Department (PWSID # 1214001) – Water is provided to this department
through two surface water intakes – the Lawrence Brook and the Delaware and Raritan Canal.
North Brunswick Water Department (PWSID # 1215001) – Water from this system is supplied
through one surface water intake - Delaware and Raritan Canal.
Elizabethtown Division of the New Jersey American Water Company - Source water for the
system comes from 129 regional wells and seven surface water intakes. Water sources for the
Elizabethtown system include the Millstone River, Upper Potomac-Raritan–Magothy Aquifer;
the Raritan River; deposits within igneous and metamorphic rocks, glacial sand and gravel;
Delaware & Raritan Canal, Brunswick Aquifer and the Stockton Formation.
A noncommunity water system is a public water system used by individuals other than year
round residents for at least sixty days of the year. Noncommunity water systems may serve
transient or nontransient populations. If the water system serves the same 25+ people over a six
month period during the year, the system is considered nontransient. Examples include schools,
offices and factories. A transient noncommunity water system is a system that is active at least
sixty days of the year, but does not serve the same population during that time period. Rest stop
areas, restaurants, and motels are examples of transient noncommunity systems. These systems
may have their own noncommunity servicing wells (Section 11, Figure 5). According to the
NJDEP Source Water Assessment Report (noncommunity systems) 2005, there are 22
noncommunity systems within Franklin Township. In Franklin Township, these systems rely on
the use of individual wells to obtain water and are separate from the public water supply system.
Franklin Township Noncommunity systems include the following:
PWID System Name/Source
1808303 Colonial Park Ballfield
1808304 Colonial Park Police Sub Station
1808305 Quail Brook Golf Course (5th tee)
1808306 Quail Brook Golf Course (17th tee)
1808307 Spooky Brook Golf Course (Club House)
1808312 Spooky Brook Sanitary Facility
1808313 Spooky Brook Sanitary Facility Building
1808316 Oakcrest Day Camp
1808318 High Road School
1808338 Confectionately Yours (formerly Aranka’s Restaurant)
1808341 Pillar of Fire Alma White Prep
1808342 Cedar Hill Club, Inc.
1808343 Cricket General Store
1808345 Village Shoppers
1808349 O’Brien’s Tavern
1808351 Loyal Order of the Moose
1808353 Bunker Hill Golf Course
1808355 Granny’s Deli
1808356 Franklin Mall
1808357 Happy Stars Child Care
1808358 Oakcrest Country Day School (2 sources)
4.5 Aquifer Contamination
The chemical quality of ground water is primary concern where it is used for public and
domestic supply. The chemical properties are determined by the chemical properties of the
precipitation; mineralogy of the substrate through which the water moves; and the length of time
the water is in contact with the substrate. The chemical content can be altered by the
introduction of contaminants into the environment. Pollutants may enter the environment from
point or nonpoint sources. Point sources are usually discrete sources where concentrations may
be elevated, such as leaking pipes, underground storage tanks and accidental spills. Nonpoint
sources are usually lower concentrations spread out over larger areas, such as fertilizers and
pesticides applied in agricultural areas, stormwater runoff from pavement and vehicle emissions
that settle on the ground and infiltrate with precipitation.
Although associated primarily with the Inner Coastal Plain, the PRM aquifer is one of the
sources of water for Franklin Township via the NJ American Water Company – Elizabethtown
Division (See Section 4.4). The PRM Aquifer, which is part of the New Jersey Coastal Plain
Aquifer System, has a fairly high potential for contamination through recharge (USEPA, 1988
(2)). A combination of factors including the high water table conditions, high permeability of
the soil, and its low attenuation capability allow for the transport of contaminants from the land
surface into the aquifers. Leaking septic systems, landfill leaching, chemical spills, leaks and
illegal dumping, industrial waste lagoons, highway deicing agents and agricultural and lawn
maintenance chemicals may all contribute to its contamination (USEPA, 1988 (2)). These
contaminants may have immediate local impacts and long term impacts as the contamination
travels deeper into the aquifers.
The 15 basin (Northwest New Jersey) aquifer system, which includes the Millstone River Basin,
is considered to be highly vulnerable to contamination by the USEPA (1988). This
determination aided in the basin’s designation as a Sole Source Aquifer (see Section 4.9) The 15
basin Aquifer is associated with Ridge and Valley, Highlands and Piedmont Geology. Reasons
cited for its vulnerability include thickness of the soils, the shallow depth to ground water, and
the fractured nature of the bedrock. Potential sources of contamination cited by the USEPA
include transportation routes, septic systems, highway, rural and urban runoff, commercial and
industrial facilities, and agricultural practices (USEPA, 1988).
Contamination of groundwater may be the result of a surface spill of a liquid, from streams or
lakes, or be the result of a buried solid which is dissolved into groundwater as the result of water
percolation. Contamination may be less dense than water and float, as in the case of petroleum
products, or may sink within the aquifer as many solvents do. Certain chemicals may mix with
aquifer water and become solutions such as chlorides. Some chemicals that dissolve into the
water may travel distances of thousands of feet from the original source in the form of a
“plume.” The introduction of certain biodegradable materials into an aquifer may result in
changes to the chemical properties of the groundwater. These chemical changes may result in the
freeing of previously bound naturally occurring metals into groundwater. The release of metals
from chemical changes has been associated with aquifer portions located under landfills
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection produces a Source Water Assessment
Report for all public water systems within the state. This report determines the susceptibility of
a water system to various contaminants and does not reflect actual contaminants being consumed
by customers of that water supply system. Under this program the following parameters are
considered: Pathogens including bacteria and viruses; nutrients including nitrogen and
phosphorus; volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as solvents, degreasers and gasoline
components; pesticides; inorganics including asbestos, arsenic, lead and other metals;
radionuclides including uranium and radium; radon; and disinfection byproduct precursors
(DBP) that include solutions of organic matter and disinfecting agents such as chlorine.
Each contaminant is given a high (H), medium (M), or low (L) rating depending on the
susceptibility of the particular well. Levels of susceptibility are determined by looking at various
factors impacting the wells including the hydrologic conductivity of the soil, percentages of
organic matter and clay in the soils, the proximity of agricultural land uses, the proximity and
amount of urban landscape or impervious surfaces, and the proximity of streams and wetlands.
Susceptibility ratings are listed in Table 3 for Franklin’s public community water systems. Totals
of contamination potential for Franklin Township’s noncommunity systems are listed in Table 4.
It is important to remember that these ratings reflect a well’s potential for contamination, and
does not confirm actual contamination. Public water systems are required to monitor for
regulated contaminants and must install treatment if any contaminants are detected at frequencies
and concentrations above allowable levels (SWAP, 2004).
Additional details and information regarding source water protection data in Franklin Township
may be obtained through the NJDEP at www.nj.gov/dep/swap.
Source Water for Franklin Township
INSERT TABLE HERE
* Numbers refer to the number of individual sources. For example New Jersey American utilizes
water from 129 individual wells and from seven surface water intakes.
Table 4 Contamination Potential Totals
Noncommunity Water in Franklin Township
INSERT TABLE HERE
VOCs Ninety-one wells within the Franklin Township public water systems were determined to
have high susceptibility for volatile organic compounds or VOCs. Five noncommunity systems
were determined to have high potential for VOC contamination. VOCs are the most common
organic groundwater contaminants in New Jersey. VOC contaminants may be of point or
nonpoint in origin and typically include solvents, degreasers, and additives of gasoline including
MTBE (methyl tertiary-butyl ether). Gas stations, chemical plants, and other industries are
typical sources of VOCs. In addition to being linked to adverse health problems, VOCs
contribute to the development of ground level ozone (O3). Ozone is a gas that forms when
nitrogen oxides and VOCs react in the presence of sunlight and heat. VOC aquifer
contamination is common in urban and industrialized areas within the state. VOC contamination
within the PRM aquifer has resulted in nonpotable conditions within some sections (Nevoy,
Undated). Sampling of sections of the Delaware and Raritan Canal have revealed the presence of
MTBE (Gibbs, et al., 1998). MTBE is a common VOC groundwater contaminant used as a fuel
additive to increase oxygen content in gasoline. Leaky underground fuel tanks can result in
Nutrients A high potential for nutrient contamination was found in all surface water intakes
and 53 wells of Franklin Township Community Water Sources. Noncommunity sources were
generally found to be at medium risk of nutrient contamination. Nutrient contamination is linked
with high levels of nitrogen and phosphorus. High nutrient levels may be connected to fertilizers
from agricultural areas or lawns, or may result from sewerage treatment effluent, leaky septic
systems, livestock or excessive waterfowl (e.g. Canada goose) populations. Nutrients can have
environmental and human health impacts by enhancing the growth of harmful pathogens such
as E. coli bacteria or creating eutrophic conditions in open waters. Surface water supplies within
Franklin Township were found to have a high potential for pathogen contamination.
Nutrient overloads and sedimentation, or the occurrence of fine particulate matter in water, may
result in eutrophic conditions. Eutrophism is caused by an exponential population increase of
photosynthetic organisms including algae, which in turn results in reduced oxygen levels in the
water. Ultimately, this may result in inhospitable conditions for many fish and other aquatic
wildlife. Residential development, golf courses or other sources of maintained lawn may
contribute to excessive nitrogen or phosphorus through application of fertilizers for grass
maintenance. Soil erosion from development and increases in impervious surfaces may result in
The high susceptibility ratings for nutrients in local surface water intakes are reflected in the
Federal Water Pollution Control Act Section 303d listings, and in the surface water study
conducted by the Township (see Section 6.3.3). Portions of the Millstone and Raritan Rivers
near Franklin were found to not attain State Water Quality Standards for phosphorus (see Section
6.3). Furthermore, portions of the Raritan River near Franklin do not attain standards for total
suspended solids (see Section 6.3).
Radiation Unstable, radioactive components of certain elements naturally occurring or
introduced into the soil are known as radionuclides. Common forms of radionuclides include
alpha emitters, proton/proton emitters, radium 226/228 and radon. All of these forms of
radiation have been linked to various forms of cancer. Radon is a naturally occurring gas that
results from the breakdown of uranium in soil. Although radon is typically associated with, and
most dangerous as, air contamination, it may also enter water. Ninety-two of the 129 NJ
American Water Company - Elizabethtown Division wells were found to have high susceptibility
to radon contamination. Within Franklin Township, noncommunity sources of water generally
have a high susceptibility for radiation contamination.
Preliminary water testing for radioactive elements involves measuring gross alpha activity.
Alpha radiation is a product of radioactive decay, a process by which elements emit radiation to
reach a more stable form. Alpha radiation is measured in units known as picocuries. NJDEP
indicates that the geologic formations in NJ typically associated with the highest levels of
uranium occur in the Highlands Province of NJ, which includes the northernmost tip of Somerset
Under current US Environmental Protection Agency laws, the lifetime risk associated with
consuming water with the maximum allowable contaminant level for gross alpha activity is 1 in
10,000, or one additional fatal cancer for every 10,000 people consuming two liters of water per
day for seventy years. Municipal water systems are required to test for and treat water above the
mean contaminant level (MCL). The current MCL for dissolved radium (226 and 228) is 5pCi/L
(picocuries per liter) (USEPA, 2002).
Additional information related to radionuclide contamination may be obtained at
Inorganics Inorganics include a variety of non-organic substances ranging from asbestos to
heavy metals. Heavy metals are those metals ranging from copper (average atomic weight
63.546) and those above it in the periodic table. Industrial waste is a typical source of these metal
contaminants. Certain metals including cobalt, manganese, molybdenum, vanadium, strontium,
zinc, nickel, copper and iron are utilized by all living organisms in trace amounts. However,
mercury (see above), cadmium, chromium, arsenic and lead are metals considered particularly
dangerous to humans and wildlife in surface waters (Kennish, 1992). A wide range of health
problems have been associated with heavy metals: Cadmium disrupts the body’s ability to
regulate zinc and copper (Kennish, 1992); chromium may cause respiratory and dermatological
problems; and arsenic may cause digestive tract and cardiac harm. Arsenic has also been linked
to cancer (Steve Spayd, NJ Geological Survey). Sixteen public community wells and all surface
water supply sources for Franklin Township’s water have been determined to have a high
susceptibility to inorganics. This is consistent with surface water findings under the Section 303d
list, which identifies portions of both the Millstone River and the Raritan River near Franklin as
not attaining the standard for arsenic (see Section 6.3).
The 303d list also identifies mercury contamination in both the Millstone and Raritan Rivers.
Mercury occurs naturally in the environment and also enters the environment from industrial
pollution. Airborne mercury that descends into waterbodies can be transformed by
microorganisms into the highly toxic methylmercury. This form of mercury may accumulate in
high levels in fish and shellfish (fish-mercury). Human exposure to methylmercury via fish
consumption may cause nervous system damage and, as a result, State and Federal health
advisories against consumption of fish of particular species or within particular waterbodies are
regularly issued. Methylmercury is particularly harmful to young children and unborn babies
(USEPA). Naturally occurring arsenic has been determined to be above the state action level of
5 parts per billion (ppb) over two-thirds of Franklin Township.
Disinfection Byproduct Precursors (DBP) DPBs are byproducts resulting from the reaction
between disinfectants and organic and inorganic compounds in water. Chlorine is the most
common disinfectant associated with DPBs. Chlorine is typically used in public water supplies
as a means of controlling water-borne pathogens. Common chlorination byproduct chemicals
include trihalomethanes (THMs), haleoacetic acids, haloacetonitriles and chloral hydrate. Natural
organic matter has been determined to be a primary organic component of DPBs (Stevens et al,.
1976). The USEPA has created some MCL standards for some DBPs.
DBPs may be naturally occurring or the result of septic system effluent coming in contact with
surface water bodies or groundwater supplies. Water with higher concentrations of organic
compounds is naturally more susceptible to DBP formation. Water quality and water treatment
factors that are identified as potentially contributing to the development of certain DBPs (THM)
include increased contact time, higher presence of carbon precursors in the water, higher
temperature, higher pH, greater presence of free chlorine residuals, and higher concentrations of
Surface waters throughout NJ, including all those utilized by the community water systems of
Franklin, are susceptible to DBP contamination.
Pesticides Pesticides are a group of chemicals used to kill or control pests. Subcategories of
pesticides include herbicides (plants), fungicides (fungi), rodenticides (rodents), algicides
(algae), insecticides (insects and other arthropods), nematocides (nematode worms), and
bactericides (bacteria and similar pathogens). They are typically distributed from non-point
sources such as agricultural fields, golf courses, residential lawns, transportation rights-of-way,
commercial and industrial sources and atmospheric deposition. A wide range of chemicals are
used as pesticides including organochlorine; organophosphorus; carbamate insecticides;
chlorophenoxy, acetanilide, and triazine herbacide acids; and some VOC fumigants. Variables
that may impact pesticide contamination potential include organic content of soil (wells),
surrounding land use, distance from the water source to agricultural operations and minimum
distances to golf courses.
Various pesticides (including organophosphates and N-methyl carbamates) have been linked to
nervous system function impacts, and triazines have been linked to developmental reproductive
impacts in lab animals and tumor production (chloronoacetanilides) (USEPA)
According to the NJDEP SWAP report, the surface water sources of Franklin Township are
considered to have the highest potential for pesticide contamination. Well sources of Franklin
Township water supplies generally have medium potential for pesticide contamination.
Additional information on these and other forms of water contamination may be found at the
EPA website www.epa.gov/ogwdw/hfacts.html and the NJDEP SWAP website at
www.nj.gov/dep/swap/reports/sw_dbp.pdf Source Water Assessment Program Plan, November
4.6 Wellhead Protection
In order to protect New Jersey groundwater resources, the NJDEP has identified Wellhead
Protection Areas (WHPAs) for public community water supply wells. The WHPA is the area
from which a well draws its water within a specified timeframe. Once delineated, the WHPAs
are typically considered priority areas to prevent and clean up groundwater contamination.
WHPAs consist of three tiers, each based on the time of travel (TOT) to the well. The outer
boundaries of these tiers will have the following times of travel:
Tier 1 = two years (730 days)
Tier 2 = five years (1,826 days)
Tier 3 = twelve years (4,383 days)
The portion of the zone of contribution designated as the WHPA is based upon the TOT of the
groundwater to a pumping well. The TOT is particularly significant in that it is related the
amount of time it would take a flowing contaminant to reach the well from a given location. The
TOT determination aids in prioritizing sources that pose an imminent threat to a well water
No public community wells are identified by NJDEP in Franklin Township, however there are
multiple non-community wells throughout the municipality. The Tier 1, 2 and 3 WHPAs for the
non-community water supply wells in Franklin are shown on the Wellhead Protection Area
Figure 5 of Section 11. This figure also provides the locations of Known Contaminated Sites
(KCS) within Franklin listed by the NJDEP.
Although there are no public community supply wells within Franklin, the 12 year tiers of
neighboring public community supply wells in Manville Borough and Montgomery Township
extend into Franklin. Land use planning may typically include an examination of the existing and
proposed land uses in wellhead protection areas as certain land uses have a greater potential to
contaminate groundwater than do others. The Stony-Brook Millstone Watershed Association has
developed a document outlining major aspects of wellhead protection and the development of
wellhead protection ordinances. The document is available online at:
4.7 Sole-Source Aquifers
The Federal Safe Drinking Water Act contains provisions that allow for specific designation of
areas that are dependent on groundwater as their sole or principal drinking water source. The
technical requirements for designation as a sole source aquifer are that (1) more than 50% of the
drinking water for the aquifer service area is supplied by the aquifer system and (2) that there are
no economically feasible alternative drinking water sources.
When an area is designated as a sole source aquifer, the Federal environmental review process
will ensure that Federal agencies will not commit funds toward projects which may contaminate
these designated ground water supplies. The Piedmont related aquifers of Franklin Township are
part of the Northwest New Jersey 15 Basin Sole Source Aquifer. The Potomac-Raritan-Magothy
PRM) aquifer, which supplies some of Franklin’s water supply, is part of the Coastal Plain Sole
Source Aquifer System.
4.8 Known Contaminated Sites
The NJDEP Site Remediation Program currently maintains a list of more than 12,000 New
Jersey sites that are confirmed to be contaminated and are undergoing a remedial investigation or
a cleanup or are awaiting assignment to a NJDEP case manager. According to the NJDEP,
Franklin Township contains a total of 58 Known Contaminated Sites (Figure 5 in Section 11) as
listed in Table 5.
Table 5 NJDEP Known Contaminated Sites in Franklin Township
INSERT TABLE HERE
Remedial Level and NJDEP definitions for Table 5:
- B A single-phase remedial action with a single contaminant affecting only the soil.
- C1 Remediation does not require a formal design. The source of the contamination is known or has been identified. There is a potential for ground water contamination.
- C2 Remediation requires a formal design. The source of the contamination is known OR the release has caused ground water contamination.
- C3 A multi-phased remediation action. Where the source of the contamination is either unknown or there is an uncontrolled discharge to soil and/or ground water.
- D A multi-phased remediation with multiple sources/releases to multiple media including ground water.
- U Undetermined
Known Contaminated Sites are sites where contamination of soil and/or groundwater is
confirmed at levels greater than the applicable cleanup criteria or standard. Remedial activities,
which may be as simple as soil removal and replacement, or which are very complex may be
underway. The sites may be handled under one or more State and/or Federal regulatory
programs. A site may be active, or may be pending when the site has not yet been assigned to a
specific remediation program, or may be closed with restrictions. The NJDEP may be contacted
for detailed information on the nature, extent and severity of contamination at a specific site. All
of the active sites are in a stage of remediation and have a particular State Bureau overseeing
remediation. The Bureau assigned to the case depends on the nature of the contamination and/or
the location of the site. In Franklin Township, the following State bureaus are involved with
Known Contaminated Site mitigation:
Bureau of Field Operations –Northern (BFO –N)
Bureau of Case Management (BCM)
Bureau of Operation, Maintenance and Monitoring (BOMM)
Bureau of Northern Case Management (BNCM)
Bureau of Southern Case Management (BSCM)
Office of Wellfield Remediation (OWR)
Initial Notice Section (INS)
For additional information regarding these sites, the type of remediation, or other general
information about Known Contaminated Sites, visit NJDEP at:
http://www.state.nj.us/dep/srp/kcs-nj/1overview.htm. Requests for specific contaminants may
require a formal Open Public Records Act (OPRA) request.
4.9 USEPA Superfund Sites
The Superfund Program, established through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
(USEPA) in 1980, was created to locate, investigate and clean up the nation’s most contaminated
sites. There is currently two superfund sites within Franklin Township: the Higgins Farm Site
and the Higgins Disposal Service These sites are National Priority List (NPL) sites (see below).
Information for the Higgins Farm and Higgins Disposal sites is compiled from the USEPA
Superfund Program Website at: www.epa.gov/superfund.
Within the USEPA Superfund System, sites may be listed as National Priority List Sites (NPL).
NPL sites are those sites that are given priority due to their contamination level. As part of the
NPL determination, the sites go through a screening called the Hazard Ranking System (HRS).
The HRS uses criteria including the likelihood of a hazardous substance entering the
environment; the toxicity and other characteristics of the contamination; and the frequency of
people or sensitive targets potentially impacted by the waste. The site then undergoes a remedial
investigation/feasibility study to determine prioritization by reviewing site conditions and the
nature of contamination; determining the impact to human health and the environment; the
treatability of the site; potential of success; and the cost of treatment technologies.
Sites are first proposed to the National Priorities List (NPL) in the Federal Register. EPA then
accepts public comments on the sites, responds to the comments, and places the site on the NPL
as long as it continues to meet the requirements for listing.
Higgins Farm Site The Higgins Farm site (# NJD981490261) is located along Route 518 in
Franklin Township. A well sample taken by the Township Health Department in 1985 indicated
elevated levels of chlorobenzene, a volatile organic compound (VOC - see Section 4.5). Further
investigation by NJDEP revealed a drum burial dump site approximately 40 yards from the well
and contamination from VOCs, semi-VOCs and metals. In April 1987, the USEPA stabilized
the site to prevent further groundwater release. Priority actions included the development of an
alternate water supply and long–term groundwater remediation. Starting in 1990, an alternate
water supply was approved for 26 homes within the vicinity of the site and residential wells were
closed. Development of a new water main distribution system for the homes was completed in
1993. In 1992, long-term remediation was approved that included the creation of groundwater
wells and an onsite treatment plant, and a long-term monitoring plan to determine the
effectiveness of the implemented measures. All remediation action measures have been
completed at the site.
Studies conducted onsite included an optimization study designed to determine how to improve
the groundwater treatment plant operation. In addition, a groundwater monitoring study was
conducted to evaluate the extent of the contaminated plume. An evaluation of potential off-site
migration of contaminated groundwater will be conducted by the USEPA.
As part of a litigation settlement between USEPA and the Higgins family, the Township of
Franklin is in the process of accepting development rights from the family to prevent further
development from occurring onsite (John Loos, Personal Communication 2008).
Higgins Disposal Site The Higgins Disposal site (NJD053102232) is a 37.6 acre site located on
Laurel Avenue approximately 1500 feet west of the D and R Canal and Millstone River in
Franklin Township. The Higgins disposal site is located less than one mile from the Higgins
Farm site but is categorized as a separate Superfund site. The site owner operated a waste
disposal business from the 1950s to 1985 that included an unpermitted landfill, waste transfer
station and trash compactor. The site groundwater and subsurface soil were found to be
contaminated with both organic and inorganic compounds that were associated with the landfill
and several additional burial areas.
The USEPA removed 765 tons of PCB contaminated soil in 1992. A drum burial area was
discovered onsite in March of 1993 and the USEPA initiated a second removal action resulting
in the removal of 12,000 tons of soil and 7000 containers (drums, laboratory glass, and plastic
and metal containers). Final soil removal action was completed by the USEPA and the
potentially responsible party (PRP) in June of 1999. The removal resulted in the excavation of
34,000 tons of contaminated material and 16,000 containers.
In 1997, a Record of Decision regarding groundwater remediation was signed. Remedial actions
included connecting all residents down gradient of the site to a public water supply and the
extraction of the site’s contaminated groundwater. Initially, contaminated water was to be
conveyed through a pipeline to a water treatment facility on the neighboring Higgins Farm site.
There was significant public opposition to the proposed pipeline conveyance and a PRP
sponsored focused feasibility study indicated that onsite treatment would be more cost-effective
and practical than a pipeline transfer offsite. As a result of the public opposition and the
feasibility study, the USEPA selected onsite methodologies for groundwater treatment in 2002.
Construction of the onsite treatment systems began in August, 2005 and has been functional
since February of 2006. Monitoring related to the site continues and in March of 2006, the
USEPA started to investigate vapor intrusion of local residences to determine if VOCs from the
Higgins Disposal site groundwater plume are impacting air within and around surrounding
5.1 Soil Types
Soils provide the basis for the potential land uses within the community. They determine the
types of vegetation or crops that can be grown and influence the development activities and
design of structures that can be constructed. Soils represent a non-renewable resource and must
be appropriately managed. In addition to the cultural and aesthetic losses typically associated
with the loss of farms to residential development, the loss of quality soil typically occurs.
Residential and commercial development results in the conversion of soils from their historic
agricultural or open space uses into permanent non-use. Considering significant soils in the
planning process is vital to maintaining the rural elements of the Township and meeting
objectives set forth in the Franklin Township Comprehensive Farmland Management Plan
(2007). This plan provides a framework for farmland preservation within the municipality and
includes specific soil information on the targeted Farmland of the Township.
Soils are formed by forces of the environment acting on soil material deposited or accumulated
by geologic processes. The characteristics of a soil at any given location are determined by the
climate in which the soils material has accumulated and has existed since accumulation; the
physical and mineralogical composition of the parent material; the relief or slope of the land
which influences drainage, moisture content, aeration, susceptibility to erosion, and exposure to
the sun and elements; the biological forces (plants and animals) acting upon the soil material;
and the length of time the climate and biological forces have had to act on the soil. The parent
material of Franklin’s dominant soils consist of Jurassic age red shales, siltstones and sandstones
typical of the Piedmont. The major soil series in Franklin generally range from well to
moderately drained silt loams that vary from slightly acid to extremely acid depending on soil
type and depth.
The Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) has also prepared soil mapping from the
Soil Survey Geographic (SSURGO) database that is available from NJDEP GIS data. SSURGO
is mapped throughout the State of New Jersey. Mapping was prepared on a detailed scale that
provides individual soil mapping units for Somerset County. The soil map (Soil Map, in Section
11) is based on the mapping provided by the NRCS. Franklin Township contains a relatively
diverse range of soil types that include a total of 47 individual soil mapping units, excluding land
cover marked as water, udorthents (poorly formed soils), quarry or Urban Land. These soil
mapping units are components of a more generalized soil series characterization. Descriptions of
the major soil series within Franklin are included in Section 5.4 of the ERI. The soil mapping
units occur in 22 different soil series. The various units and their amounts within Franklin
Township, as mapped by SSURGO, are listed in Table 6.
Franklin Township Soil Mapping Units and their Characteristics
INSERT TABLE HERE
H- Hydric Soil
HI – Hydric Inclusion
SI- Soil of Statewide Importance
P- Prime Farmland
5.2 Prime Farmland
The NRCS has identified soils based on their agricultural significance, or Land Capability
Classification. The best quality soils are termed “Prime Farmlands” which are followed by
“Soils of Statewide Importance.” Prime Farmlands include all those soils in Land Capability
Class I and selected soils from Land Capability Class II. Prime Farmlands are lands that have
the best combination of physical and chemical characteristics for producing food, feed, forage,
fiber and oilseed crops and are also available for these uses. It has the soils quality, growing
season, and moisture supply needed to economically produce a sustained high yield of crops
when treated and managed according to acceptable farming methods. Prime farmlands are not
excessively erodible or saturated with water for a long period of time, and they either do not
flood frequently or are protected from flooding. Soils of Statewide Importance include those
soils in Land Capability Class II and III that do not meet the criteria as Prime Farmlands, but
nonetheless support agricultural production, with some limitations. These soils may be suited to
certain crops or require special conservation practices to maintain their productivity. Table 6
identifies the soil-mapping units that are considered Prime Farmland or Soils of Statewide
Importance as well as depth to bedrock.
Areas of Prime Farmland and Soils of Statewide Significance occur throughout Franklin and
according to SSURGO soils mapping, occupy approximately 14,679 acres or nearly 49% of
Franklin Township’s surface area. An additional 10,581 acres of soils within Franklin are
considered of Statewide Importance. Penn series soils (approximately 8037 acres of Prime
Farmland) comprise most acres of the Prime Farmland Soils in Franklin. Other dominant Prime
Farmland soils in the Township include the Royce (approximately 2013 acres of Prime
Farmland), Dunellen (approximately 1288 acres of Prime Farmland), Birdsboro (approximately
1013 acres of Prime Farmland), Keyport (approximately 811 acres of Prime Farmland), Norton
(577 acres of Prime Farmland), Neshaminy (approximately 519 acres of Prime Farmland) and
Raritan (205 acres of Prime Farmland).
5.3 Hydric Soils
Approximately 1412 acres (4.7 % of the land cover) of hydric soils are mapped in Franklin
Township. An additional 6509 acres (22% of the land cover) of soils within the Township are
mapped as potentially having hydric inclusions. Hydric soils are the soils that typically
characterize the soil substrate found in wetlands. They are soils that have low permeability, are
poorly to very poorly drained and have a water table at or near the ground surface during the
growing season; or are soils that are frequently ponded or flooded for a long duration or very
long duration during the growing season. The major hydric soil series in Franklin Township
identified by SSURGO mapping include the Mt Lucas-Watchung (approx. 472 acres),
Bowmansville (approx. 348 acres) and Croton (approx. 338 acres).
Major soil units identified as containing hydric inclusions include Rowland silt loam, 0 to 2 %
slopes, frequently flooded (approx. 2537 acres), Reaville silt loam, 0 to 2 % slopes (approx. 1454
acres), Landsdowne silt loam, 0 to 2% slopes (approx. 829 acres), and Keyport silt loams
(approx. 0 to 2 and 2 to 5% slopes – approx. 811 acres).
5.4 Major Soil Series Descriptions
Franklin’s major soil series are provided here with a brief description. Information is provided
by the NRCS Official Soil Series Descriptions and the SSURGO Soils Database.
Penn soils are the most dominant soil series in Franklin by a considerable margin. This series
comprises approximately 10,604 acres or 35% of Franklin Township’s land cover. Soils of the
Penn Series are moderately deep, well drained soils. Parent materials of these soils consist of
weathered Triassic reddish shale, silt stone and fine–grained sandstone. Penn soils are found on
fairly level to steep uplands. Slopes consisting of Penn soils range from 0 to 60%. Penn soils
tend to be well drained, runoff is medium to very rapid and permeability is moderate to
moderately rapid. Much of Penn soil is used for rotation cropland. Wooded areas tend to be
mixed hardwood dominated by oak.
The A horizon is 0 to 8 inches and consists of dark reddish brown silt loam that is slightly acid.
Many roots and porters may be found in this horizon. Rock fragment content ranges from 2 to
The B horizon extends from 8 to 21 inches and ranges in color from reddish brown to weak red.
The horizon ranges from slightly to moderately acid. Roots and pores are common in the upper
three inches of the horizon. Rock content ranges from 5 to 50 % of the soil composition.
The C horizon is 21 to 34 inches, weak to dusky red, and contains 30 to 90% shale and siltstone
rock content. It ranges from slightly acid to strongly acid.
The Klinesville series is the second most dominant soil series in Franklin Township, comprising
approximately 3101 acres or 10% of Franklin’s land cover. Soils of the Klinesville series are
formed from red shale, siltstone, slate and finely grained sandstone. Klinesville series soils are
somewhat excessively drained and occur on slopes ranging from 3 to 80%. Runoff is medium to
very rapid and permeability is considered moderately rapid. Soil uses are commonly forest or
pasture. Less sloping areas are used for growing hay or crop tilling. Common natural forest
trees include black oak and chestnut oak.
The A horizon is 0 to 5 inches, dark reddish brown very channery silt loam, with few fine roots
and with 50% shale fragments. This horizon tends to be very strongly acid. Rock fragments
range from 15 to 75 % of the soil composition.
The B horizon is 5 to 15 inches of reddish brown extremely channery silt loam with few fine
roots and 60% shale fragments. This horizon is very strongly acid. Rock fragments range from
15 to 75% of the soil composition.
The C horizon extends 15 to 19 inches and is weak red weathered fragments of shale with
reddish brown silt coatings. This layer is massive with 90% shale fragments. The C horizon is
strongly acid. This horizon sits above a limited R horizon at 19 inches and consisting of weak red
fractured acid shale bedrock. Rock fragments range from 40 to 90% of the soil composition.
Approximately 2537 acres or 8% of Franklin’s land cover consists of Rowland Series soils. The
Rowland series consists of very deep, moderately well and somewhat poorly drained soils.
Rowland soils are formed on relatively narrow level floodplains in alluvial sediments of red and
brown shale, sandstone and conglomerate. These soils are flooded by streams in precipitation
events. Permeability is considered moderate to moderately slow above approximately 40 inches
and rapid in the underlying sands and gravels. Soil uses are primarily pasture or cropland.
Wooded areas are dominated by mixed hardwoods.
The A horizon is 0 to 10 inches of dark reddish brown silt loam and friable with many fine roots.
It is moderately acid.
The B horizon from 10 to 28 inches is reddish brown silt loam. The horizon is friable with many
fine roots in the upper 16 inches and few medium roots in the lower portions. Light gray mottles
occur in the lower portions. Upper portions are moderately acid while lower portions are strongly
The C horizon from 28 to 65 inches is weak red in color and silty clay loam to 44 inches and
stratified sand and gravel from 44 to 65 inches. Gray and brown mottling occurs in the upper
portions. The C horizon is moderately acid.
Approximately 2397 acres or 8% of Franklin Township’s land cover consists of the Reaville
Series soils. The Reaville Series consists of moderately deep, well, and somewhat poorly drained
soils formed in residuum of weathered Triassic red shales, siltstone and fine-grained sandstone.
Reaville slopes range from 0 to 15 % and permeability is slow. Land use is typically cleared
and cultivated. Hay grains and corn are typical crop uses. Reaville soil areas are also used for
pasture. Native forests on this soil are oak dominated mixed hardwood.
The A horizon extends from 0 to 9 inches and consists of reddish brown channery silt loam. The
layer contains fine roots and up to 15% rock fragments up to 1 inch. This layer is slightly acid.
The B horizon extends from 9 to 13 inches and is reddish brown channery silt loam with some
yellowish red to reddish gray mottling. The layer contains 20 to 30% shale fragments and is
The C horizon extends 15 to 25 inches and consists of dusky red very channery silt loam with
reddish gray mottling. This layer contains 50% rock fragments of shale. The layer is slightly
acid. The C horizon is underlain by an R layer that exists at 25 inches and consists of weak red
shales and sandstone.
Approximately 1349 acres or 4.5% of Franklin’s land cover consists of the Dunellen series soils.
Dunellen soils are very deep, well-drained soils with slopes ranging from 0 to 35 % commonly
found on glacial outwash plains and stream terraces. They formed in stratified materials where
the underlying bedrock is red, soft shale or siltstone. In the solum, of the soil series, the
permeability is moderately rapid to moderate and in the substratum the permeability is
moderately rapid. The rock fragments within the Dunellen Series are mostly rounded pebbles
composed of red shale, sandstone or siltstone, and may include basalt, granite, gneiss, quartzite
and conglomerates. Given their locations, Dunellen soils are used mostly for community
development. Remaining areas are idle on the urban fringe and some areas can be used for
pasture, hay or general crops.
The A horizon of 0 to 8 inches is a brown sandy loam. It is a medium granular structure with
fine roots throughout. Three percent of the composition of the horizon is rounded gravel. The A
horizon is moderately acidic and rock fragments range from 0 to 15 % of the soil composition.
The E horizon of 8 to 14 inches is a brown sandy loam with a subangular blocky structure.
There can be found a few fine roots and tubular pores within the E horizon. The rounded gravel
within the horizon contributes approximately 2% to the composition. This horizon is moderately
acidic. Rock fragments range from 0-30 percent in the lower part of the solum.
The BE horizon of 14 to 20 inches and the Bt horizon of 20 to 32 inches are very similar in
composition. Both sections of the horizon are reddish brown sandy loams with weak subangular
blocky structures. Fine roots and tubular pores are consistent within both layers. They differ the
most where the BE horizon consists of 3% rounded gravel and the Bt horizon has 5% rounded
gravel. This horizon is strongly acidic.
The C horizon is 2 layers, one layer being the C horizon (32 to 42 inches) and the other being the
2C horizon (42 to 70 inches). Both are reddish brown in color and consist of 10% rounded
gravel. The C horizon is a massive sandy loam, whereas the 2C horizon is a single grained
loamy sand. The entire horizon is moderately acidic. In the C horizon the rock fragments will
range from 5 to 50 % of the composition, but average less than 35% and for the most part occur
in thin lenses of gravel.
Approximately 1145 acres or 4% of Franklin Township’s land cover is mapped as Birdsboro
Series soils. The Birdsboro Series consists of very deep, well drained to moderately well drained
soils developed from old alluvial deposits of red sandstone, shale and siltstone. These soils are
found on terraces and alluvial fans with slopes ranging from 0 to 15%. These soils are of
moderate permeability. Most Birdsboro soils are cultivated or in pasture and about a quarter of
the soil is in non-agricultural use. A small portion of the non-agricultural soil contains mixed
The A horizon is 0 to10 inches of dark or pale brown siltloam with about 2% gravel. It is
The B horizon is 10 to 46 inches thick and comprised of reddish brown loam to 39 inches. The
lower portion is brown sandy clay loam with yellowish or light brownish mottles. Gravel ranges
from 2 to 5% of soil composition. Acidity ranges from very strongly to extremely acid.
The C horizon extends from 46 to 70 inches. This horizon consists of reddish brown very
gravelly clay loam. This layer contains 50% rounded gravel and is very strongly acid.
5.5 Steep Slopes
In general, development of slopes in excess of 10% increases the risk of erosion, stormwater
runoff and flooding potential. The additional runoff results in sedimentation of down slope
surface waters, which damages habitat and has the potential to damage property. The sloping
land increases the rate of stormwater runoff, which reduces the rate of groundwater infiltration.
This is exacerbated when vegetation is unnecessarily stripped from the slope. Chapter 112 Land
Development of the Franklin Township Code sets standards for steep slope development: In
areas with slopes of 12% to 25%, no more than 15% of these areas are allowed to be developed
and/or regraded or stripped of vegetation and, for purposes of subdivision or the issuance of a
building permit for a new dwelling, each lot must include a minimum of one contiguous acre of
land with less than 15% slope on which all development shall occur. In areas with slopes of 25%
or more, no development, regrading or stripping of vegetation is permitted.
NJDEP mapping indicates the presence of moderate slopes of 6 to 12 % throughout Franklin
Township. These areas are often associated with stream courses including Six Mile Run, Ten
Mile Run and Simonson Brook, and multiple tributaries of the Millstone River, D and R Canal
and the Raritan River (see Section 11, Figure 8). The largest areas of slopes ranging from 12 to
18% are associated with portions of Nine Mile Run, Six Mile Run, Steep Hill Brook, Middlebush
Brook and Simonson Brook. Slopes in the range of 18 to 35% are primarily associated with
Simonson Brook, Nine Mile Run, Six Mile Run, Ten Mile Run, and Mile Run along the border
with New Brunswick. Additional steep slopes are located within the vicinity of the quarry in
5.6 Soil Erosion and Sediment Control
The NJDEP Soil Erosion and Sediment Control Act (N.J.S.A. 4-24-42 et seq.), requires that a
Soil Erosion and Sediment Control Plan be prepared for any clearing or disturbance of 5000
square feet or more. The plan must be prepared in accordance with the Standards for Soil
Erosion and Sediment Control in N.J.A.C 2:90. Soil disturbance of one acre or more during
construction also requires a New Jersey Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NJPDES)
permit and a Request for Authorization (RFA) from NJDEP’s Bureau of Nonpoint Pollution.
These documents and information can be obtained through the County’s Soil Conservation
District. The SCD monitors compliance with the SESC plan during construction. Information
about Soil Erosion and Sediment Control may be obtained from the Somerset County Soil
Conservation District at 908-526-2701 http://www.co.somerset.nj.us/division/soilconserve.html.
The Somerset SCD may be reached at 308 Milltown Road, Bridgewater, NJ 08807 or by email at
Soil Erosion and Sediment Control standards are also included in Franklin Township Code
(Updated 10-15-07 – Supp. No. 4). Chapter 330 of the Code discusses soil erosion and sediment
control standards to be followed with regard to stormwater management for construction sites,
detention basins, etc. Chapter 206 of the Code considers soil erosion and sediment control with
regard to the disposal, movement or removal of soil. Chapter 222 discusses soil erosion factors
when the Township is considering tree removal permits, and Chapter 6 of the code discusses the
necessity for approved Soil Erosion and Sediment Control plans when seeking land development
5.7 Acid Producing Soils
NJDEP defines acid producing soils as “Soils that contain geologic deposits of iron sulfide
minerals (pyrite or marcasite) which, when exposed to oxygen from the air or from surface
waters, oxidize to produce sulfuric acid. Acid producing soils, upon excavation, generally have a
pH of 4.0 or lower. After exposure to oxygen, these soils generally have a pH of 3.0 or lower.”
The formations commonly associated with acid producing soils are typically confined to the
Inner Coastal Plain formations south of Franklin Township. However the Magothy formation, a
formation associated with acid producing soils does outcrop in small areas in the southernmost
portions of Franklin Township (see Section 4.2).
Because of the ability of acid producing soils to impact water quality and alter natural
communities, Soil Erosion and Sediment Control Standards specific to acid producing soils were
developed by NJDEP. Under the newly released Flood Hazard Control Act Rules (N.J.A.C.
7:13), regulated water (Riparian Zone) buffers are required to be 150 feet along streams and open
waters where acid producing soils will be exposed. Guidelines for the additional information on
the location and handling of acid producing soils in the region may be obtained through the
Somerset SCD (see Section 5.6).
6.0 WATER RESOURCES
6.1 Watershed Management Areas, Drainage Basins and Major Surface Water
A watershed is an area of land that drains into a body of water such as a stream, lake, river or
bay. This includes surface water features and the surrounding land itself. Topographic features
such as hills and slopes define the boundaries of watershed management areas. These watershed
management areas are comprised of Drainage Basins; large watersheds that encompass multiple
small watersheds. NJDEP manages watersheds by dividing the state into 20 large watershed
management areas (WMAs). Franklin Township is located within two watershed management
areas: Watershed Management Area 9, Lower Raritan South River and Lawrence Brook
primarily in the northern third of the Township, and WMA 10, the Millstone Watershed (above
Carnegie Lake) in the southern two-thirds of the Township. The border between the two WMAs
is defined by the convergence of the Millstone and Raritan Rivers on the northern border of the
Township and extends in a southeastern direction between the headwaters of the Raritan River
tributaries to the north and east, and the Six Mile Run tributaries to the south and west (see
Section 11, Figure 9).
Table 7 Watershed Management Areas of Franklin
INSERT TABLE HERE
Watershed Management Area 9 consists of the mainstem of the Raritan River (extending from
the confluence of the North and South Branches to the Raritan Bay), South River and Lawrence
Brook. According to NJDEP there are 73 NJPDES permits and 29 Biological Monitoring
Stations in the watershed. The drainage area is densely populated, with suburban development
being the primary land use. Areas of commercial and industrial development are scattered
throughout WMA 9. This watershed is characterized in part by heavy stream bank modification
The Raritan River, the defining surface water of WMA 9, runs along Franklin from the vicinity
of Zarephath, near Bound Brook, and eastward to Mile Run at the Middlesex County border.
Major tributaries of the Raritan River within Franklin include Randolph Brook and Mile Run.
The primary land use along the Raritan River in northern Franklin is suburban.
Randolph Brook begins in the vicinity of Zarephath and flows northward to the Raritan River.
Land use near the headwaters include wetlands and agriculture, however the river is otherwise
Mile Run begins east of Vorhees in Middlesex County and flows north, dividing portions of
Franklin from New Brunswick City before converging within the Raritan River. The land use
surrounding the Mile Run is almost entirely suburban.
The entire Millstone Watershed incorporates the 38-mile Millstone River and its tributaries. The
watershed drains approximately 184,320 acres within the Piedmont Plateau and Inner Coastal
Plain physiographic provinces in central New Jersey. Areas within the watershed are generally
defined as being upstream or downstream from Carnegie Lake, the Millstone River’s largest
impoundment. Within Franklin, the Millstone watershed is below (downstream from) Carnegie
Lake, which terminates just south of the Township near Kingston. The Millstone River generally
flows in a northwesterly direction from Millstone Township in Monmouth County, forming the
southern border of Middlesex County before turning more northerly near Princeton Junction, and
flowing north, defining the western border of Franklin Township and converging with the
Raritan River near Zarephath. Major tributaries of the Millstone River within Franklin include
Six Mile Run, Ten Mile Run and Simonson Brook. Each of these waterways contains multiple
small tributaries within the Township.
Six Mile Run’s headwaters begin east of Franklin Township in North Brunswick and flow
generally westward, through the center of Franklin before converging with the Millstone River
near Blackwells Mills. Major tributaries of Six Mile Run within Franklin include Nine Mile Run
and Cross Brook to the south, and Middlebush and Steep Hill Brooks to the north. Six Mile Run
and most of its associated tributaries are all Freshwater 2 Non-trout, Category 1 (FW2-NT C1).
Waters including portions of Nine Mile Run south of Claremont (see Section 6.2). Most of the
Six Mile Run’s associated land cover includes State Protected Land that comprises Six Mile Run
Reserve (see Section 9.4). Land use consists primarily of forest and agricultural areas.
The Ten Mile Run begins in Franklin, south of Rt. 518 and flows eastward to South Brunswick
and then northward back into Franklin, before converging with the Millstone River halfway
between Griggstown to the south and Blackwells Mills to the north. Surface waters associated
with Ten Mile Run and its tributaries are classified as Freshwater Non-trout Category 2 (FW2-
NT C2). Land use surrounding the Ten Mile Run consists of a mix of agricultural, forest and
The Simonson Brook headwaters begin near Ridings Road in Franklin Township. The stream
flows northward before turning westward at Sunset Hill Garden and converging with the
Millstone River near Griggstown. Surface waters associated with Simonson Brook and its
tributaries are classified as Freshwater Non-trout Category 2 (FW2-NT C2). Land use
surrounding the Simonson Brook consists of a mix of agricultural, forest and residential uses.
Source: NJ Division of Watershed Management www.state.nj.us/dep/watershedmgt
Within each WMA, there are multiple watersheds and subwatersheds. The US Geological Survey
has mapped and identified watersheds using a hierarchical numbering system. Each watershed
or “hydrologic unit” is identified by a unique hydrologic unit code (HUC) consisting of up to 14
digits, for the smallest mapped (sub) watersheds. There are 150 HUC-11 watersheds in New
Jersey ranging in size from 0.1 to 143 square miles, with an average size of 51.9 square miles.
There are 921 HUC 14 subwatersheds in New Jersey, ranging in size from 0.1 to 42 square
miles, with an average size of 8.5 square miles.
Franklin Township contains 12 HUC 14 subwatersheds within three HUC 11 watersheds (see
Section 11, Figure 10). These watersheds and subwatersheds, and their corresponding
percentages within the Township are listed in Tables 8 and 9.
Table 8 HUC 11 Watersheds in Franklin
INSERT TABLE HERE
Franklin Township HUC 14 Subwatersheds
INSERT TABLE HERE
6.2 Surface Water Quality Classification
In New Jersey, it is the policy of the State to restore, maintain, and enhance the chemical,
physical, and biological integrity of its waters, to protect the public health, to safeguard aquatic
biota, protect scenic and ecological values and to enhance the domestic, municipal, recreational,
industrial, agricultural and other reasonable uses of the State’s waters. Water quality is evaluated
with respect to Surface Water Quality Standards (SWQS) and water quality concerns occur when
SWQS are not met or are threatened. New Jersey’s Surface Water Quality standards (NJAC
7:9B, et seq.) establish the water quality goals and policies underlying the management of the
State’s water quality.
All of the surface water bodies that are located in Franklin Township are classified as freshwater
non-trout (FW2-NT). Non-Trout waters are not associated with trout production or trout
maintenance and are generally unsuitable for trout because of their physical, chemical, or
biological attributes. These waters may be suitable for a wide variety of other fish species.
The designated use for FW2-NT waters are identified as:
Maintenance, migration and propagation of the natural and established biota;
Primary and secondary contact recreation;
Industrial and agricultural water supply;
Public potable water supply after conventional filtration, treatment and disinfection; and,
Any other reasonable uses.
Category 1 and 2 waters
In addition to the standard water quality classifications, waters are also classified as either
Category 1 or Category 2 waters. Category 1 waters are those waters designated for additional
protection due to their “color, clarity, scenic setting other aesthetic value, exceptional ecological
significance, recreational significance, water supply significance or fisheries resources.” All
other waters are considered Category 2 waters. Under the NJ Stormwater Management Rules
(N.J.A.C. 7:8) Category 1 waters are afforded a designated special waters resource protection
area (SWRPA). The SWRPAs are those areas within 300 feet of the top of each bank of C1
waters. In addition, the 300-foot width SWRPA is required adjacent to those waters that drain to
C1 waters within the limits of the associated subwatershed (HUC-14). This buffer may be
reduced to 150 feet for disturbed areas such as yards, lawns and agricultural areas. The SWRPA
is intended as a buffer between development and these special waters in order to further protect
water quality. The 300-foot width buffer is based on an NJDEP review of existing scientific
literature. Existing development within the SWRPA is not regulated. Consequently,
maintenance of existing features, such as tree pruning, cultivation and mowing are also not
regulated. However, new construction or expansion of existing facilities that would disturb up to
one acre of land or create one-quarter acre of new impervious surfaces is considered major
development and would be regulated under the NJDEP Stormwater Management Rules
(N.J.A.C. 7:8). Furthermore all C1 waters and upstream waters within the same HUC 14 are
subject to a 300 foot regulated Riparian Zone in which vegetation removal is regulated under the
Flood Hazard Control Act Rules (N.J.A.C. 7:7-13). Most of the Six Mile Run and its tributaries
including portions of Nine Mile Run are listed as C1 waters. Remaining waters within Franklin
Township are listed as C2 waters (see Section 11, Figure 9).
6.3 Surface Water Quality
The surface water quality for rivers and creeks has been evaluated in New Jersey using various
methods, in particular, the NJDEP uses a protocol termed Ambient Biological Monitoring
Network (AMNET) for rapidly assessing water quality (see Section 6.3.2). In addition, under the
Federal Clean Water Act Section 303 (d) States are required to list the status of their streams.
The 303(d) list is generated using the AMNET and other stream monitoring data such as that
generated by the NJDEP Clean Lakes Program, NJDEP Shellfish Monitoring Program, Fish
Tissue Monitoring and NJDEP/USGS chemical and physical water quality monitoring. In
addition to these studies, the Municipality of Franklin has, through its Environmental
Commission, collected data on its stream quality (see Section 6.3.4) through a water sampling
6.3.1 Nonpoint Source Pollution
The major source of stream pollution in Franklin is the result of nonpoint sources. These sources
of pollution are somewhat difficult to identify since they do not discharge directly from a pipe, or
a “point source.” The most common nonpoint pollutants include solid waste/floatables;
sediment; nutrients; pesticides; metals, road salts; petroleum hydrocarbons and pathogens. These
nonpoint sources may be transferred into receiving waters via stormwater that runs off of
developed, impervious surfaces and from agricultural areas that are subject to erosion (see
Section 6.4.2, Stormwater) .
In addition to increased runoff, developed areas also accumulate pollutants on the land surface
from atmospheric deposition. These pollutants are mobilized and transported to streams during
storm events. . Stormwater that runs off of pavement or is stored in detention basins is also
often heated, which raises the temperature of the receiving waters. The consequences of
nonpoint source pollution result in significant stream and habitat degradation.
6.3.2 AMNET Monitoring (Aquatic Invertebrate Populations)
In order to determine the health of the streams that comprise the watersheds, the NJDEP
performs monitoring of benthic macroinvertebrate populations using the Environmental
Protection Agency’s Rapid Bioassessment Protocols – Level II procedure. Using this method,
aquatic communities are examined for pollution tolerant and intolerant life forms and the results
are used to compute a New Jersey Impairment Score and Biological Condition. Biological
condition of a stream sample is based on 100 organism samples taken at the AMNET site. The
benthic macroinvertebrate samples examined include representatives of various taxonomic
families of insects and insect larvae, mollusks such as mussels, clams and snails, and crustaceans
such as crayfish. Ratings of the stream condition are based on the level of pollution tolerance of
the families collected, the ratio of pollution tolerant to pollution intolerant families, and the
biodiversity of the system (percentage of single species dominance). The program is termed the
Ambient Biological Monitoring Network (AMNET). In New Jersey, over 800 locations are
sampled on a five-year rotating schedule. Biological impairment of streams may be caused by
several major factors including nonpoint source pollution, point source pollution and/or a lack of
stream corridor (riparian) buffers.
Moderately Impaired communities are characterized by reduced richness of EPT taxa
(Ephemeroptera- mayflies, Plecoptera –stoneflies, and Trichoptera -caddisflies); reduced
community balance and reduced number of pollution intolerant taxa. Severely Impaired
communities are benthic communities that are drastically different from those in less impaired
situations including a few dominant pollution tolerant macroinvertebrate taxa (NJDEP 2004
Ambient Stream Metadata). Pollution tolerant groups include worms (Oligochaeta), midges
(Simulidae), leeches (Hirudinia), and various snails (Gastropoda).
A total of 7 AMNET biological monitoring stations are located in Franklin Township. An
additional 10 stations from the vicinity of the Township are also included in Table 10. All
stream samples from the listed stations in the most recent round of sampling indicate moderate
biological condition, with the exception of Pike Run, west of Franklin, which is listed as having
severely impaired biological conditions
Biological Condition of Streams Impacting Franklin Township
INSERT TABLE HERE
6.3.3 Federal Clean Water Act Section 303 (d)
Under the Federal Clean Water Act Section 303(d), each state is required to list impaired
waterbodies. New Jersey uses chemical and biological stream monitoring to determine these
impaired waters. Waterbodies cannot be removed from the 303(d) list until the water quality
standards are met.
The 303(d) list is divided into sublists or categories depending on the condition of the
waterbody. The categories defined by NJDEP are as follows:
Sublist 1: There is sufficient data to assess all applicable designated uses for the waterbody and
the assessment indicates full attainment for all designated uses.
Sublist 2: Waterbodies are placed on this sublist when an assessment for an individual
designated use is complete and results for that assessment indicates full attainment but other
designated uses are unassessed, assessed as non-attain or have an approved TMDL. When all
designated uses are assessed as full attain, these waterbodies will be moved to Sublist 1.
Sublist 3: Waterbodies are placed on this sublist when the designated use assessment indicated
insufficient or no data to assess the designated use.
Sublist 4: The waterbody is impaired or threatened for one or more designated uses. There are
Sublist 4A. Waterbodies are placed on this sublist when the designated use is non attain due to
pollutants and a TMDL (Total Maximum Daily Load) has been adopted in the New Jersey
Register and approved by the USEPA.
Sublist 4B. Waterbodies are placed on this sublist when the designated use is non-attain due to
pollutants and other enforceable pollution control requirements are reasonably expected to result
in the conformance with the applicable SWQSs in the near future.
Sublist 4C. Waterbodies are placed on this sublist when the designated use is non-attain and the
impairment is not caused by a pollutant.
Sublist 5: Designated use assessment is complete and results for the assessment indicate nonattain.
To view the full Integrated Water Quality and Monitoring Assessment Report, visit the NJDEP
The Clean Water Act requires that each Sublist 5 (non-attaining for pollutants) waterbody is
given a priority ranking of high (H), medium (M) or low (L) with the goal of lowering TMDL.
The prioritization process takes into account various environmental, social and political factors.
Evaluated criteria include source and parameters of impairment; additional data needs; TMDL
complexity and nature; waterbody use and cultural or historic importance; efficiency concerns;
watershed management activities; sensitive species concerns; and public interest. Table 11
provides the most recent available (2006) data for water body conditions for Sublist 5 The
complete integrated list (Table 12) includes all sublists and various categories of water use.
Table 11: 2006 (Sublist 5) Impaired Waterbodies 303(d)
List for the Vicinity of Franklin Township with Priority Ranking
INSERT TABLE HERE
6.3.4 Community Water Monitoring
Volunteer Monitoring and Watershed Watch Network
The NJDEP Volunteer Monitoring Program and the Watershed Watch Network are programs of
the Office of Outreach and Education in the Division of Watershed Management. The NJDEP
Watershed Watch Network is an umbrella program for all volunteer monitoring activities in New
Jersey. Volunteers choose the level of commitment they would like to make based on the
purpose of their monitoring and proposed uses of the data. The program is designed to provide
quality assurance for data submitted to NJDEP, and to help data collectors build upon existing
programs. For additional information about volunteer monitoring, contact the Volunteer
Monitoring Coordinator, at 609-633-9241.
Franklin Township Stream Survey
Between September 2003 and August, 2004 the Franklin Township Environmental Commission
collected water samples from streams from 27 locations across Franklin Township as part of a
partnership with the NJDEP. Values were taken for nitrogen including nitrates and nitrites;
phosphorus; total suspended solids (TSS); pH; conductivity; turbidity; dissolved oxygen and
temperature. Results indicate that samples exceeded the State Water Quality Standard (SWQS)
for phosphorus at 21 stations; total suspended solids at six stations; and turbidity at nine stations.
Appendix D of the ERI includes an Environmental Commission Map illustrating the locations
of these test stations by the referenced site number. Table 13 includes the results of the study,
including values exceeding standards. Table 14 provides the results of fecal coliform testing
conducted by the Franklin Township Environmental Commission.