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New Jersey Future Statement on Passage of Landmark Bills to Keep Children Free from Lead Poisoning

Trenton, June 24, 2021—New Jersey Future Managing Director of Policy and Water Chris Sturm released the following statement on the passage of legislation that calls for removing sources of lead in the environment and ensuring owners and residents are aware of the presence of lead before they move into a new home, specifically four bills that:
  • Require the inventory and replacement of lead service lines within ten to 15 years (A5343/S3398)
  • Ensure renters are informed about any lead paint hazards before they move in by expanding inspection requirements, requiring remediation, and creating a lead paint hazard education program. (A1372/S1147)
  • Add a question about the home seller’s awareness about the presence of lead plumbing and lead service lines onto the property condition disclosure statement, which is a first step to ensuring home buyers are informed. (A2135/S829)
  • Require public water systems to offer free testing for lead in water during an action level exceedance or partial lead service line replacement. (S830/A2134)
“These bills demonstrate a significant commitment to making New Jersey lead-free, and we eagerly await action by Governor Murphy, who called for many of these initiatives in his 2019 Comprehensive Statewide Plan to Address Lead Exposure. These bills are the product of years of teamwork by state and community advocates, elected officials, water utilities, housing organizations, and experts. New Jersey Future has been grateful for collaborations through the Jersey Water Works Lead in Drinking Water Task Force and the new Lead-Free NJ collaborative. We’ll continue to work together to enact the full suite of lead-safe policies.
What’s most critical right now are additional funding solutions that can accelerate implementation. The New Jersey Legislature, Murphy administration, Congress and local governments must dedicate investments in safe drinking water and healthy homes, childcare centers and schools. On the water side, Senator Booker’s Environmental Justice Legacy Pollution Cleanup Act of 2021 and Congressman Pallone’s Clean Future Act each call for $45 billion to replace lead service lines nationwide, which would be a legacy investment in America’s children. While we hope that Congress will take such action, we cannot count on it. The state of New Jersey may need to dedicate a portion of American Rescue Plan funds for this purpose, especially for those communities that already struggle with unaffordable water rates.
In the meantime, we highlight local leaders like Mayor Venezia of Bloomfield, who is using $2 million of the township’s ARP monies to replace lead pipes, and Mayor Baraka, whose administration has removed 20,000 lead pipes in just over two years. Their local projects demonstrate that we can achieve a Lead-Free NJ, but we must stay focused, commit funding and track progress.”

© New Jersey Future, 16 W. Lafayette St. • Trenton, NJ 08608 • Phone: 609-393-0008 • Fax: 609-360-8478

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