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Drinking Water Infrastructure Report Calls for Investment, Transparency

January 4th, 2018 by

UPDATED to reflect the task force’s unanimous adoption of the report at its Jan. 8 meeting.

Joint Legislative Task Force on Drinking Water Infrastructure recommends $400 million to upgrade state’s drinking water systems.

New Jersey Future applauds the Joint Legislative Task Force on Drinking Water Infrastructure for its report, adopted unanimously at a meeting Jan. 8,which provides a comprehensive set of recommendations for upgrading New Jersey’s deteriorating water systems, including how to generate the significant investment needed for the upgrade.

Among the recommendations:

  • Asset management, to be incentivized by matching grants from the state Environmental Infrastructure Financing Program for upgrade investments, which would be made to utilities with robust asset management programs in place;
  • Capacity-building for smaller utilities, to be provided via grants and technical assistance from the New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Trust;
  • Increased funding for replacement of lead pipes and mitigation of combined-sewer overflows;
  • More stringent requirements for accountability and transparency, including requiring standardized metrics to be reported.

The report recommends the issuance of $400 million in general-obligation bonds to help pay for upgrades to the state’s drinking water infrastructure.

The report reflects the extensive testimony gathered during its three public hearings from many water leaders, the majority of whom are, like New Jersey Future, members of the Jersey Water Works collaborative.

The task force was convened following the revelation that lead had been found in drinking water at a variety of schools across New Jersey. It was tasked with studying and making both short-term and long-term recommendations “concerning issues related to drinking water infrastructure in New Jersey,” according to the resolution that established it. Although many water systems are well managed, in too many communities century-old water pipelines are bursting and obsolete; unhealthy drinking water containing lead threatens our children’s brain development; and dysfunctional systems direct raw sewage, polluted runoff, or both mixed together into our local rivers and cause flooding of streets and basements.

Implementing the task force’s recommendations will benefit communities and utilities across New Jersey, and will be a significant catalyst in providing the necessary system upgrades to allow enhanced economic growth.

Read the full report

One Response to “Drinking Water Infrastructure Report Calls for Investment, Transparency”

  1. Robert Becker says:

    Nothing in here talks about well water quality and the increase in arsenic levels. In our part of the state, we protect drinking water for millions but no one cares about the water we use below the surface.

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