Measure to Allow Municipalities to Adopt Ordinance to Perform Repairs
A major cause of lead exposure comes from drinking water that has traveled through lead pipes. In an effort to reduce exposure, a bill that would allow municipalities to enter properties for the replacement of lead service pipes was approved in the Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee on Monday.
The legislation is sponsored by Assembly Democrats Eliana Pintor Marin, Shanique Speight and Gary Schaer.
“This legislation will help municipalities address the problem with greater urgency, both in Newark and statewide,” said Pintor Marin (D-Essex). “It’s an extremely time-sensitive issue and by authorizing municipalities to enter properties to replace lead service lines, we can ensure the job gets done properly and expeditiously.”
Under the legislation (A-5854), a municipality would be authorized to enter a person’s property to perform lead service line replacements after providing notice to the owner and any residents at least 72 hours in advance of scheduled work.
“Newark has already passed its own ordinance to allow entry onto private property so that the city can begin lead service line replacements,” said Speight (D-Essex). “If we implement what is happening locally on a statewide level, we’ll be able to maximize the efficiency of our water infrastructure replacement projects and safeguard public health for communities throughout New Jersey.”
In municipalities where 10 percent or more of the residents speak a primary language other than English, a letter or written notice to inform of scheduled work would also need to be provided in those languages.
“Access to clean drinking water is an irrevocable human right, as legislators we must ensure that right for every resident,” said Schaer (D-Bergen, Passaic). “All lead exposure carries significant health risks, but children are particularly vulnerable to suffering permanent damage. This bill empowers municipalities to conduct lead service line replacements, protecting residents from further lifelong effects.”
Municipalities will also be required to send the property owner a letter by certified mail after completing a service line replacement to give a brief summary of when and what work was performed.
The bill goes to the Speaker for further review.