After disturbing reports of lead contamination in New Jersey's drinking water, Governor Phil Murphy outlined his plan to rid the state of lead lines.
Part of the plan includes voters passing a $500 million spending plan to rid water lines of lead. If passed, the bond initiative would help cover about a quarter of the $2.3 billion needed to remove all lines.
"In 2019 it is unacceptable that children are still poisoned by exposure to lead,” Governor Murphy said Thursday in Trenton.
Murphy’s plan, which he described as a “comprehensive approach,” was released in conjuncture with recommendations made by Jersey Water Works, a coalition of environmental advocates, engineers, and water utilities, to make New Jersey’s water systems lead-free over the next 10 years.
Some of those recommendations include forcing utility companies to remove bad lines for free and pass the cost on to rate payers.
"The water from our treatment plants is virtually lead free. However, from the street to the buildings lead often leaches from pipes and plumbing into drinking water,” said Chris Daggett, chairman of Jersey Water Works.
Concerns have been growing since Newark learned some filters it passed out to residents were not keeping lead out of drinking water.
Assemblyman John DiMaio, (R) NJ23rd, who represents parts of Warren and Hunterdon counties, says he supports lead removal but feels the governor should have started the work sooner.
He says a study done three years ago showed elevated lead levels in Newark water and says abatement should have begun then.
"I think what they're [Democrats] going to do is to lay the cost of this across all of the state’s tax payers, which I think I'm going to have some concern with…it is the water company, or the property owner, or the municipality's responsibility to deal with this."