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Lagana, Singleton & Greenstein Lead Testing & Disclosure Bills Advance

Trenton – In an effort to improve transparency around lead pipes on residential properties, the Senate advanced two bills sponsored by Senators Joseph Lagana, Troy Singleton, and Linda Greenstein, which would require homebuyers to be notified of lead pipes in a property and allow people to request drinking water tests in certain circumstances.

“Deteriorating lead pipes in residential properties are some of the most dangerous hazards people face in their homes, especially children,” said Senator Lagana (D-Bergen/Passaic). “We can create more transparency around any possible existence of lead water pipes on our properties to ensure homeowners are aware of the risks. By requiring drinking water tests to be made available to residents and notifying them of the existence of any lead pipes, we can assist our citizens in having the healthiest drinking water possible.”

The first bill, S-829, sponsored by Senators Lagana and Singleton, would require property condition disclosure statements to include the presence of lead pipes. In New Jersey, a real estate broker or salesperson is required to provide a disclosure statement that outlines any defects or deficiencies of a residential property, but the requirement does not currently include a disclosure for lead plumbing. New York, Delaware, Pennsylvania and Connecticut all require a similar disclosure on the presence of lead plumbing.

“Lead plumbing is a pervasive problem in New Jersey, and yet the state does not require lead plumbing to be included on property condition disclosure statements. The presence or absence of lead pipes in a home is vital information that a buyer should have before purchasing a property that their family will live in for years to come,” said Singleton (D-Burlington), Chair of the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee. “This is basic consumer information that could have an impact on the health and well-being of family members, as well as on the value of their home.”

The first bill was released from the Senate by a vote of 37-0.

The second bill, S-830, sponsored by Senators Lagana and Greenstein, would supplement the “Safe Drinking Water Act” to allow customers of a public water system to request to have their drinking water tested, free of charge, for the presence of lead and copper if the water system exceeds the lead or copper drinking water standards. Additionally, the public water system would be required to include a notice on its customers’ bills that advertises the availability of the water tests.

“Many people suffering from lead-polluted water are living in older homes and apartments,” said Senator Greenstein (D-Middlesex/Mercer). “In urban and rural areas specifically, lead is a pervasive problem with a significant number of homes sampled having lead in their drinking water. Providing more water testing will allow us to detect early on if the water is contaminated, and help protect residents from the hazards of lead-contaminated water.”

Additionally, under the bill, customers would be allowed to request to have their drinking water tested, free of charge, whenever a public water system carries out a partial service line replacement on their lead service line, up to six months after the initial replacement. If the test reveals an elevated lead level, the public water system would be required to notify local health officials and the municipality.

The second bill was released from the Senate by a vote of 38-0.