Jul 26, 2021

New Jersey to Replace all Lead Water Pipes in the Next Decade

The lead service line replacements are specifically part of a three-bill package signed July 22 by Gov. Phil Murphy.

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New Jersey will replace all its lead water pipes within the next decade as part of a new plan.

This is specifically part of a three-bill package signed July 22 by Gov. Phil Murphy, reported North Jersey News. According to the package, water companies will be allowed to raise rates on property owners to pay for the pipe replacements.

There are between 300,000 and 350,000 lead pipes in New Jersey, according to Trenton Bureau of the USA TODAY Network, reported New Jersey News.

"Our goal is nothing less than having every single lead water service line across New Jersey replaced within the next 10 years," Murphy said at a ceremony in Bloomfield, reported New Jersey News. "That's not going to just be wishful thinking. It's going to be an achievable and an affordable reality. We're going to ensure that every water service line that contains lead is properly catalogued and then removed."

The second bill Murphy signed requires inspections at rental properties for lead paint, which was widely used in homes and then banned in 1978, according to New Jersey News. The third bill Murphy signed removes several restrictions to allow towns and water companies to finance the pipe replacements. 

Utilities are encouraged to replace lead pipes within 10 years and then allowed for a five-year extension if needed.

“With today’s signing New Jersey has become the fourth state in the nation to enact legislation targeted at ensuring our residential properties are free of lead-based paint, protecting our children against exposure,” said Senator M. Teresa Ruiz in the Gov. press release. “Within certain areas of the state as many as 7.6% of children have elevated blood lead levels. This takes the first step in beginning to address the issue by identifying the properties in need of remediation and providing funding for landlords to remove this hazard before welcoming new tenants. This legislation has been years in the making and I look forward to seeing this impact it has on families around the state.” 

In Newark, New Jersey, more than 20,000 lead pipes have been replaced and water officials expect to finish the replacements by September 2021.

Read the Office of the Governor's press release in full here.

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