(TRENTON) – Drinking water and wastewater treatment systems are expected to face major challenges due to climate change. To ensure that New Jersey’s water systems have a plan for the future, Assembly Democrats John Armato (D-Atlantic), Pedro Mejia (D-Bergen, Hudson), and Gabriela Mosquera (D-Camden, Gloucester) sponsor a measure that would require water purveyors subject to the Water Quality Accountability Act (WQAA) and wastewater systems subject to the Water Pollution Control Act (WPCA) to identify current and future impacts of climate change on system assets and operability in the system’s asset management plan. The measure was approved by the Assembly Special Committee on Infrastructure and Natural Resources on Wednesday.
The bill (A-5796) would require water systems to closely consider issues that can be caused by climate change and incorporate them into a plan that can combat potential changes in sea level rise, rainfall, temperature change and other severe weather events. The assessments and strategies in the plan would be based on the most recent natural hazard projections and best available science from the Department of Environmental Protection.
Upon committee approval of the measure, Assembly members Armato, Mejia and Mosquera issued the following joint statement:
“In the upcoming years, water systems are at risk of becoming flooded more frequently, which would severely damage the equipment. Hotter temperatures may force equipment to function differently as well, and we must generate ideas on how to solve these issues before they are right in front of us. This bill will allow our State to get a jump on potential issues, and prepare New Jersey for whatever future climate changes may occur.”