Trenton – In a move to further reduce the prevalence of lead in drinking water, the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee today advanced a pair of bills sponsored by Senator Linda Greenstein which would tighten and expand lead regulation in residential rental units.
The first bill, S-2695, sponsored by Senator Greenstein and Senator Sandra B. Cunningham, would require the disclosure of residential units for lead drinking water hazards to tenants of residential units and prohibit landlords from obstructing the replacement of lead service pipes.
“The presence of lead in drinking water represents a threat to the public health of New Jersey’s children and residents. Recent data shows that exposure to relatively small amounts of lead can result in serious health complications including high blood pressure, difficulties with memory or concentration, and miscarriages or premature birth in pregnant women,” said Senator Greenstein (D-Mercer/Middlesex). “We must be vigilant in our fight against lead poisoning by ensuring that residents are provided with updated information on lead exposure and are allowed the option to replace lead service lines.”
Under the bill, if a landlord obstructs the replacement of a lead service line, the tenant would be allowed to terminate the lease agreement any time thereafter without incurring any change or penalty imposed under the agreement.
The measure would also require landlords to provide each tenant with a Lead in Drinking Water Disclosure before entering into a lease or renewal agreement. Landlords who violate requirements under this bill, would be subject to a fine of $100 for a first violation, $500 for a second violation, and $1,000 for a third and subsequent violation.
The second bill, S-3415, would require landlords who rent space to child care service providers and deny the replacement of lead service pipes to install and maintain point-of-use water filters.
Under the bill, installed water filters would be required to be certified by an accredited third-party certification body to meet the standards developed by the National Sanitation Foundation, the International, and the American National Standards Institute. Replacement cartridges would also be mandated to be installed at the frequency recommended by the manufacturer for the entire time the lead service line remains in operation.
“Most importantly, this set of legislation would limit child exposure to lead significantly. An estimated 400,000 children spend part of their day at child care facilities in New Jersey. This bill would assist in ensuring that young children at these facilities are protected from lead contamination and have access to safe drinking water,” continued Greenstein.
The bills were released from committee by a vote of 5-0 and 5-0, respectively.