Legislative Task Force to Address Lead in Water Resulting from Aging Systems
TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Linda R. Greenstein that would establish a joint legislative task force to study and make recommendations concerning issues related to drinking water infrastructure cleared the Senate Environment and Energy Committee today. The initiative follows recent findings of elevated lead levels found in water at New Jersey largest public school district in Newark and in other areas throughout the state.
Under the resolution, SCR-86, the “Joint Legislative Task Force on Drinking Water Infrastructure” would be charged with identifying both short-term and long-term solutions and making recommendations to address the quality and condition of drinking water infrastructure in the State.
“Following the recent crisis in Flint which brought national attention to the dangers and risks associated with lead-contaminated drinking water, and what we later discovered about contamination in areas across our own state, the integrity of our aging infrastructure and water supply systems have come into question, and rightfully so,” said Senator Greenstein (D-Mercer, Middlesex). “This task force will bring us one step closer to addressing the issue in New Jersey and ensuring that our drinking water infrastructure is at the level of quality that it should be to ensure the safety for our state’s residents and environment.”
In conducting its business, the task force would be directed to call upon the Department of Environmental Protection, the New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Trust, the Division of Water in the Board of Public Utilities, and investor- and government-owned water utilities to offer their respective expertise and experience concerning the condition of the State’s drinking water infrastructure, and what improvements are necessary to ensure a safe drinking water supply.
The task force established under the legislation would be composed of three members of the Senate appointed by the Senate President and three members of the General Assembly appointed by the Speaker.
Within six months after the date the task force organizes, it would be required to prepare and submit a report containing its findings and recommendations, including any proposals for legislation and other appropriate legislative or regulatory action.
The bill, also sponsored by Senator Bob Smith (D-Middlesex, Somerset), cleared the Senate Environment and Energy Committee with a vote of 5-0. It now heads to the Senate for consideration.