Safe to drink? Some NJ water affected by lead and ‘forever’ cancer chemicals
U.S. Rep Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J. 5th District, continues to push for federal funding to help clean up water supplies in New Jersey.
During a visit to Fair Lawn on Friday, he announced a new $3.4 million federal investment to help the Bergen County borough install new water treatment technology in three wells currently offline from increased levels of lead and "forever chemicals" linked to cancer known as PFAS.
The investment is part of Gottheimer’s Clean Water Action Plan, which includes action taken to help towns, schools, and water treatment facilities in New Jersey remove dangerous lead and forever chemicals from drinking water supplies, stop waste dumping in sensitive areas, and provide greater transparency to families about drinking water in our schools.
The lead problem
New Jersey has 350,000 lead service lines, which are lead pipes that connect a water main from the curb to premises like a home or school. According to a report from New Jersey Future, approximately 480 school buildings across a third of New Jersey’s school districts recorded lead levels that exceeded 15 parts per billion.
A multi-billion dollar program is underway statewide to replace lead pipes to stop lead from leaching into drinking water supplies.
The EPA estimates at least 20% of human lead exposure is from drinking water. PFAS in drinking water has been an issue for towns across parts of New Jersey and has been linked to numerous adverse health effects, including cancers and impaired child development.
Gottheimer, who helped craft the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill that invested $168 million for New Jersey water infrastructure needs, pledged to continue to fight for federal funding to ensure clean drinking water supplies in the Garden State.
Gottheimer’s Clean Water Action Plan includes:
💧 Getting more federal dollars for clean water projects in multiple New Jersey communities, including Fair Lawn, Ridgewood, Wyckoff, Midland Park and Glen Rock and Sussex Borough.
💧 Ensuring Transparency in Schools, pushing for a state database for parents and communities to access up-to-date information on dangerous lead water in their children’s schools
💧 Replacing Lead Service Lines. Gottheimer has called on every single provider, private and public, to remove lead from all service lines going to houses. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, which he helped craft and pass, provides investment to water utilities and municipal water systems to begin removing lead service lines.
David Matthau is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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