New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Shawn M. LaTourette announced the launch of the state’s Water Infrastructure Investment Plan (WIIP), which aims to better understand and resolve the water infrastructure challenges plaguing New Jersey communities and utilities.
Over the next three months, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the New Jersey Infrastructure Bank (I-Bank) will engage with a broad array of stakeholders in developing the WIIP parameters for the first of a five-year period.
Direct engagement with communities and utilities about their water needs and challenges will enable DEP to set project priorities and establish the funding packages that will best support water system operators in upgrading drinking water, stormwater and wastewater infrastructure throughout the state.
The WIIP will be fueled by new federal funding under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and continuing state appropriations championed by Gov. Phil Murphy and the New Jersey Legislature.
“This Water Infrastructure Investment Plan reaffirms our commitment to modernize New Jersey’s aging water infrastructure and deliver safe drinking water to our residents,” said Murphy. “This once-in-a-generation opportunity allows New Jerseyans to participate in the planning process to shape and better their communities through these investments.”
“By coming together to shape the Wastewater Infrastructure Investment Plan, we can better deliver what New Jersey residents deserve and expect: safe drinking water when they turn on the tap, streets and businesses not so easily overcome with floodwaters, and waterways that are clean and vibrant,” said DEP Commissioner LaTourette. “This is our moment to make once-in-a-generation investments that will create jobs improving our public and environmental health, while motivating long-term term growth in communities that our infrastructure investments will uplift and support. My DEP colleagues and I are inviting every New Jersey community and water utility to join us in this exciting work.”
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is the single largest investment in water infrastructure in US history, providing New Jersey with $169 million this year for drinking water, stormwater, and wastewater infrastructure improvement projects.
Further supported by corollary state investments, these funds will spur construction of projects that better protect drinking water supplies, ensure the delivery of clean drinking water to all New Jersey communities, and reduce the risk of exposure to lead and synthetic chemicals that can impact the safety of our drinking water. The funding will also improve our communities’ resilience in the face of increasing precipitation, extreme weather, and flooding by right-sizing stormwater infrastructure. The funding will also improve the quality of New Jersey’s lakes, rivers, and streams through upgrades to wastewater infrastructure, including long-deferred improvements to combined sewer overflow systems, the pollution from which disproportionately impacts underserved communities.”
This funding will support federal and state priorities to help communities replace lead-containing water service lines, reduce pollution of waterways from combined sewer systems, harden critical infrastructure to climate change, adapt and modernize stormwater management systems to a changing climate, improve wastewater treatment plants and their collection systems, and help public water suppliers to install treatment systems to address threats from emerging contaminants such as per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).
The DEP is kicking off the WIIP development effort with a series of stakeholder sessions beginning Jan. 24 that will gather input from interested parties on the broad goals of WIIP. The sessions will help the DEP develop criteria for prioritizing drinking water and clean water infrastructure projects to be funded through an initial investment of $169 million provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The process will culminate in the adoption of a WIIP for State Fiscal Year 2023/Federal Fiscal Year 2022.
For 2022—the first of five allotments through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law – New Jersey will receive:
During the forthcoming engagement sessions, attendees will have the opportunity to share their water infrastructure needs and challenges and shape WIIP, criteria including project priority rankings, affordability criteria, funding packages, and project types that qualify for principal forgiveness. The sessions will also include discussions on the allocation of principal forgiveness and funding packages to address lead, PFAS, climate change, and sea-level rise.
The session schedule is as follows:
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