Lead and Water Quality Bills Released from Committee Today
The following lead and water quality legislation was released from various committees today, January 27, 200.
“Lead in drinking water has become an ongoing issue in New Jersey. Lead is one of the most hazardous substances known to man and it impacts children, especially small children, in our urban areas. It can cause illness and even in small amounts can lead to brain damage and learning disabilities. We need to pass legislation to address our lead problem, and we need to establish programs to protect our drinking water from lead. We also need a stable funding source to pay for lead abatement and lead pipe replacement,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club.
Senate Community and Urban Affairs
S253 (Singleton): Requires public water systems to develop lead service line inventories and replace lead service lines.
“This legislation is important because it will help reduce lead levels in New Jersey drinking water. We need to know where the lead lines are, and then we need to replace them as soon as we can. This bill calls for ten years to replace lead service lines. We should really try to make this happen quicker. It is important that this bill specifies that utilities cannot pass on more than 25% of service line replacement costs to their customers. Water companies shouldn’t be profiteering from a problem they allowed to happen,” said Tittel. “There is a crisis in New Jersey as far as lead in drinking water is concerned. This legislation is a good start, but we need legislation with a shorter time period than ten years. We need to get this done and done now.”
S320 (Rice): Requires contracts for sales of residential property to address lead service lines.
“We support this legislation because we have a serious problem with lead in New Jersey, and we have been dealing with this problem for far too long. Some places in the state are at crisis level, especially in areas that are poorer and urban. It is vital to make sure that water in properties that are for sale is safe enough to drink. Our children are being poisoned by lead in the water. Addressing lead service lines should be an important part of any home sale,” said Jeff Tittel. “It is important for the public to know what’s happening when it comes to lead in our drinking water systems.”
S647 (Greenstein): Revises asset management and related reporting requirements in “Water Quality Accountability Act.”
“New Jersey has far too many water problems, whether it is PFOAs, chlorpyrifos, cyanobacteria in our reservoirs, or lead. This bill is important because it will help to address the state’s crumbling water infrastructure. For too long, New Jersey has failed to adequately protect its drinking water and is putting the public at risk. This legislation will not only require towns to come up with a mitigation plan to fix their water problems, it will also require DEP to come up with rules to implement the Water Quality Accountability Act. It is critical for these assessments because it allows us to learn from them, where to fix certain programs, or what new laws or policies need to be implemented,” said Tittel.
Assembly Consumer Affairs
A1459 (Moriarty): Prohibits the sale of certain children’s products containing lead, mercury, or cadmium.
“This legislation is critical to protect the health of our children. Children are at particular risk because of common development behaviors of biting, chewing or sucking on toys and other products containing metals like cadmium. Lead, mercury, and cadmium are extremely dangerous for children and can result in learning disabilities, brain damage, and other health problems. Mercury is a neurotoxin, which is carcinogenic and threatens children’s health in particular. Young children are at the greatest risk of health problems related to exposure to these metals, including serious brain and kidney damage,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “This legislation is a step in the right direction to protecting our children, but we need to do more. Our children are affected by the paint in their homes, the soil contamination in their backyards, and the air emissions from nearby incinerators. We need to protect our most precious resources – our children.”