Measure Stems from Trenton Water Works Concerns Last Year
(TRENTON) – Ensuring municipalities are able to help quickly inform residents of boil water notices, a bill sponsored by Assembly members Dan Benson, Wayne DeAngelo and Nancy Pinkin requiring boil water notices are given to the mayor and the city clerk within one hour of testing was advanced Monday by an Assembly panel.
“Residents should learn immediately of an issue with their water to take the necessary precautions for their families,” said Benson (D-Mercer, Middlesex). “The first step is supplying that information to municipal leaders to help notify families.”
This legislation (A-2423) responds to a series of issues arising from Trenton Water Works (TWW). In January 2018, the State Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) issued four violations after the failure of a filter went undetected for more than a month. Benson and DeAngelo are sponsors of multiple bills aiming to address the concerns raised over the last year, including failing to promptly notify residents of boil water notices.
“We’ve been working to improve communication and services for water utilities not just in Trenton but throughout the state,” said DeAngelo (D-Mercer, Middlesex). “This another step in protecting public health and ensuring residents know when, and as soon as possible, there is a concern with their drinking water.”
“A municipality has a better chance of protecting their residents from problems if they are aware of the issue immediately,” said Pinkin (D-Middlesex). “This is common sense legislation that will help residents and municipalities stay informed.”
The bill would require the owner or operator of a public water system to provide notice to the mayor and municipal clerk of each municipality that receives water from the public water system when a boil water notice is in effect, regardless of whether the notice is in effect for that specific municipality. Notifications would be made via telephone and electronic mail as soon as possible, but no later than one hour after the public water system learns of the contamination.
The notice would be in addition to any other notice required by State or federal law and would contain: name of the public water system affected; geographical area affected; date of the occurrence; consumer corrective measures to be taken; and a telephone number where customers may reach an appropriate party. Upon the boil water notice being rescinded, the bill would also require the owner or operator of the public water system to provide notice via both telephone and electronic mail to the affected municipalities.
The bill was approved by the Assembly Telecommunications Committee; it now heads to the Assembly Speaker for further consideration.