NJ governor aims to eliminate lead pipes across state
A nonpartisan infrastructure advocacy group, Jersey Water Works, unveiled an approximately $2.3 billion plan to get rid of the state’s approximately 350,000 lead water service pipes over the next 10 years at an event attended by Gov. Phil Murphy (D-N.J.), according to an article on NJ Advance Media.
The announcement came as a result of Murphy’s task force on the issue of lead pipes contaminating water supplies, according to the article. Also at the event in Trenton, Murphy said he is requesting a $500 million bond initiative to address the issue throughout the state.
“In 2019, it is unacceptable that children are still poisoned by exposure to lead," Murphy said, according to the article.
The task force that included Jersey Water Works first convened in December, according to the article.
In 2018, lead levels that were approximately 70 times higher than the acceptable amount were found in four of New Brunswick’s public schools, The Daily Targum reported at the time. The testing was done at a total of 15 New Brunswick learning centers, and lead levels were found to be above the 15 parts per billion (ppb) standard at Paul Robeson Community School, New Brunswick Middle School, McKinley Community School and New Brunswick High School.
Lead has also been found in Newark, New Jersey, where residents were instructed to use bottled water this past summer. Now, the city is trying to organize a plan to remove its lead pipes, according to an article on TAPinto Newark.
Exposure to lead can cause a number of different health risks, including impacts on cognition in children. Lead service lines remain in use in older developed areas, as their implementation has been banned since the 1950s, according to an article in the Detroit Free Press.
Given the extensive amount of lead pipes Jersey Water Works found in New Jersey, the governor hopes government and community leaders can get together to work on the issue.
“This is a huge task and it will require partnership and further investments by water systems, developers and county and local governments and authorities," Murphy said, according to the NJ Advance Media article. “It will require action by our legislative partners to not just put our financing proposal to the voters, but to pass the legislation necessary to implement a clear plan of action."
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