New Jersey American Water says it is on its way to meeting New Jersey’s 10-year lead service line replacement target — with more than 4,000 lead and galvanized steel water service lines replaced to date. Though, with more than 24,000 water service lines currently identified as needing replacement and many more yet to be identified, New Jersey American Water is calling on customers and stakeholders to help speed up progress.
In July 2021, New Jersey enacted a law requiring all water providers to replace both utility-owned and customer-owned lead and galvanized service lines by 2031.
In response to this law, in January 2022, New Jersey American Water published a robust, interactive webpage and map, located at newjerseyamwater.com/leadfacts, to allow customers to view the service line material of their property.
Historically, the material of customer-owned water service lines has not been tracked by water utilities, so completing an inventory of customer-owned service lines is a necessary first step towards replacing all lead or galvanized water service lines.
Recently, the company launched an education campaign about the Lead Service Line Replacement Program with resources for customers, including a step-by-step tutorial showing how to self-identify pipe material and a convenient portal to submit findings. Customers with water service lines confirmed as needing replacement will then need to sign an agreement authorizing New Jersey American Water to complete the necessary work.
“In just one year, our Lead Service Line Replacement Program has made a significant difference across our service areas in New Jersey. But, with thousands of lines left to be replaced, and many more that have yet to be identified, we’re counting on the continued support of our customers, elected officials, and community partners to help us get this done quickly and efficiently,” said Mark McDonough, President, New Jersey American Water. “We’ll do all the work — all we need customers to do is identify their service line material using our online portal, and if it’s confirmed to be lead or galvanized steel, sign the agreement giving our contractors permission to complete the replacement.”
In addition to resources currently available through its education campaign, New Jersey American Water will be stepping up outreach in early August by launching a toolkit and hosting a webinar to arm stakeholders, elected officials, and partners with more resources to help spread the word, educate and engage customers across their service area.
“For this effort to truly be successful, we need everyone to ‘pipe up’ and tell us what their service lines are made of, so we can work together to get the lead out of New Jersey, once and for all,” said McDonough.
As the company and customers continue to identify lead and galvanized service lines, New Jersey American Water will notify property owners via letters as required by law annually until their lead or galvanized service line is replaced. This notification will follow the company’s annual July inventory submission to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.
It is important to note that if a customer’s service lines contain lead, it does not mean they cannot use water as they normally do. New Jersey American Water regularly tests for lead in drinking water and the water delivered to customers meets state and federal water quality regulations, including those set for lead.
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