lead pipe

Murphy Signs Lead Poisoning Prevention Bills

Gov. Phil Murphy today signed a package of bills aimed protecting New Jersey’s families from lead poisoning. The legislation, which will require regular inspections for, and the remediation of, lead-based paint hazards in residential rental properties and require the inventory, replacement, and financing of lead service lines throughout the state within the next 10 years, will advance New Jersey as a national leader in lead poisoning prevention, according to the governor.

In October 2019, Governor Murphy unveiled a statewide plan to address lead exposure. Exposure to lead-based paint and lead in drinking water were two key elements of the strategy.

“In October of 2019, I put forth a multifaceted plan to protect New Jersey’s children and families from the dangers of lead, and today, we are taking a significant step forward in our strategy to reduce lead exposure in our homes,” said Governor Murphy. “Modernizing our aging water infrastructure with new lead services lines is critical in ensuring safe drinking water flows through our communities.

“In addition to replacing service lines, we must also go further to protect those in older homes and apartments where door jambs and window sashes may be coated in decades of layers of lead-based paints, creating fine particulates that are unknowingly inhaled and ingested,” he said.

The Governor signed the following three bills into law:

S1147/A1372 (Ruiz, Cruz-Perez/Holley, Wimberly, Benson, Mukherji) – Requires lead paint inspection on certain residential rental property, including upon tenant turnover; establishes lead-based paint hazard education program; appropriates $3,900,000.

A5343/SS3398 (Schaer, McKnight, Spearman, Karabinchak/Singleton, Gopal, Greenstein) – Requires public community water systems to inventory and replace lead service lines within 10 years; provides for recoupment of costs by investorowned public water systems.

A5407/S3459 (Schaer, Karabinchak, Verrelli/Singleton, Lagana) – Removes restrictions on special assessments and bond issuances for replacement of residential lead service lines; revises budgetary requirements for operators of certain water systems.

“These laws mark important steps forward in our continuing efforts to remove lead hazards in water, paint and dust in older housing stock,” said New Jersey Department of Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli. “Lead is the most common environmental toxin for children and even very low blood lead levels can cause permanent, irreversible neurologic damage. Children spent significantly more time at home during the pandemic, when elevated blood lead levels increased by 29% and lead testing decreased by 20%. We must do everything we can to remove lead from our environment.”

“Protecting New Jersey’s water and public health through rigorous water quality standards and infrastructure investments has been a key priority of the Murphy Administration from day one,” said New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Shawn M. LaTourette. “These new laws will accelerate our work to protect every New Jersey community by requiring every lead service line across the state to be replaced over the next ten years. And, New Jersey residents can rest assured that while lead lines are replaced DEP will be protecting their health every day by mandating all water systems to undertake proactive lead risk reduction measures.”

“The signing of these bills is yet another example of how our state protects the health of all New Jerseyans, especially those in overburdened communities,” said New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Deputy Commissioner Olivia Glenn. “Everyone has the right to live in a lead-free environment. With this regulatory framework, we lead the nation in proactively reducing lead risk. We must be vigilant in lessening lead exposure, especially for our children—the most vulnerable among us.”

In an issued statement, New Jersey American Water President Mark McDonough, commented, “As a company that has long prided itself on holding the highest standards of quality and safety, New Jersey American Water applauds Gov. Murphy and the Legislature for their action. These new laws will ensure that water providers are held accountable for making the necessary investments and improvements needed to keep New Jersey’s water systems safe and reliable.”

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