Jersey Water Works Forms Task Force Focused on Lead in State’s Drinking Water

The New Jersey Statehouse and Capitol Building In Trenton

Jersey Water Works Forms Task Force Focused on Lead in State’s Drinking Water

Group will produce report of best practices and recommendations for eliminating lead from drinking water statewide

TRENTON, Jan. 15 — Jersey Water Works has convened a 25-member task force to develop practical and effective policies for eliminating lead in New Jersey’s drinking water. The task force includes representatives from publicly- and privately- owned water utilities, advocacy organizations working in environmental justice and community development, academic and technical experts, public health organizations, and all levels of government. Chris Daggett, the former commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and former regional administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, will chair the group. (See the full list of task force members below.)
“New Jersey has 11 cities that have a higher proportion of lead-affected children than Flint, Michigan, and an estimated 350,000 homes and small businesses — the fifth highest of any state — that have lead lines coming into their buildings,” said Kiki Jameson, president of The Fund for New Jersey, which is providing financial support for the initiative. “The presence of lead in drinking water is a pervasive and urgent problem, and at the same time entirely preventable, and we look forward to seeing this group’s recommendations for the best ways to remediate it.”

“The diversity of expertise on this task force will be key to coming up with practical and effective recommendations,” said Daggett. “Our experience with Jersey Water Works has proven that a problem this complex is too difficult for any one organization to solve. It requires focused attention from across the technical and policy spectrum. I’m pleased we have been able to put together such a broad, committed and knowledgeable group.”

“The majority of municipalities identified in a 2015 report as having the highest percentage of new elevated blood level cases were urban communities,” pointed out task force member Monique Griffith, the director of health from Irvington Township. “This means lead poisoning, which is particularly harmful to young children, disproportionately affects children of color in our state. It is not just a public health crisis, but an environmental-justice crisis,” she continued, “which, for the sake of our children’s future, we must address immediately, and I’m looking forward to getting to work.”

The task force’s kickoff meeting took place in December 2018. The group will conclude its work in September 2019 with the release of a report that will highlight best practices from around the country, put forward a set of policy recommendations that are appropriate, actionable, efficient and coordinated, and lay out planned actions and commitments from key stakeholders.

The task force is part of the Jersey Water Works collaborative, which brings together a broad cross-section of organizations focused on improving water infrastructure. Staff support will be provided by New Jersey Future, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that promotes sensible growth, redevelopment and infrastructure investments in the state, and that facilitates the Jersey Water Works collaborative.

Members of the Lead in Drinking Water Task Force

Christopher Daggett, Chairman
Former Commissioner
New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
Former Regional Administrator
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Federal, State and Local Government
Christine Ash
Chief, Drinking Water and Groundwater Protection
USEPA Region 2

Olumuyiwa Falajiki
Supervisor of Certification, Lead Abatement Unit
New Jersey Department of Community Affairs

Patricia Gardner
Director, Division of Water Supply and Geoscience
New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection

Michael Kammer
Bureau Chief
Division of Water, New Jersey Board of Public Utilities

Joe Myers
Commissioner, City of Bordentown
Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Cooper’s Ferry Partnership

Joseph Pargola
Assistant Director, Office of Policy and Regulatory Development
New Jersey Department of Children and Families

Shereen Semple
Director, Office of Local Public Health
New Jersey Department of Health

Joseph Bella
Executive Director
Passaic Valley Water Commission

Michael Furrey
Agra Environmental and Laboratory Services

Shing-Fu Hsueh
Trenton Water Works, City of Trenton

Andy Kricun
Executive Director
Camden County Municipal Utilities Authority

Tom Shroba
Vice President of Operations
New Jersey American Water

Advocacy Organizations
Staci Berger
President and Chief Executive Officer
Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey

Laureen Boles
New Jersey Environmental Justice Alliance

Peter Chen
Policy Counsel
Association for Children of New Jersey

Jane Cohen
Director of Environmental Health Policy

Amy Goldsmith
State Director
Clean Water Action

Cate Klinger
Senior Technical Advisor
Green and Healthy Homes Initiative

Doug O’Malley
Executive Director
Environment New Jersey

Chris Sturm
Managing Director, Policy and Water
New Jersey Future

Public Health
Monique Griffith
Director of Health
Township of Irvington

Academic/Scientific Experts

Kristi MacDonald
Director of Science
Raritan Headwaters

Robert Tucker
Scientist (retired)
New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection

Dan Van Abs
Associate Professor of Practice for Water, Society, and the Environment
Rutgers University

Lucy Vandenberg
Senior Program Officer
The Fund for New Jersey

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