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Responding to Trenton Water Debacle, Turner To Introduce Bills Requiring Prompt Notification of Boil Water Advisories

Senator Shirley K. Turner (D-Mercer) testifies during today’s Senate voting session.

TRENTON – Responding to the water contamination issue that occurred in the City of Trenton this week, Senator Shirley K. Turner announced today that she will be introducing two bills on Monday to improve the notification process and protect Trenton Water Works’ customers when the water is unsafe for drinking.

“The health and well-being of our residents is too important to allow another debacle to occur like the one we saw this week and in the past,” said Senator Shirley Turner (D-Mercer/Hunterdon).  “Consumers should be notified immediately when a boil water advisory is in effect so they can take steps to protect the public’s health.”

The first bill would require a public water system to provide a prompt public notice when a “boil water” notice is in effect.  The public water system would be required to contact customers via telephone call, an email, or a text message.  The operator of the public water system would also be required to notify its customers of the rescission of a “boil water” notice in the same manner that the notice was issued.

The second bill would require a public water system to send “boil water” notices to the mayor and municipal clerk of the affected municipalities within an hour of a notice going into effect.  The public water system would also notify the mayor and municipal clerk that the “boil water” notice has been rescinded.

“Officials in the towns serviced by Trenton Water Works want to be partners with the utility in ensuring that customers have prompt notice of safety concerns,” said Turner.  “Additionally, the more quickly customers can be notified, the better we can protect the health of the public.  I believe that these requirements will address concerns with the public utility’s delayed response.”

A violation of the proposed notification requirements would be a violation of New Jersey’s “Safe Drinking Water Act” and subject the public water system to potential penalties at the discretion of the Department of Environmental Protection, including, but not limited to, civil penalties.

Senator Turner indicated that she has been in contact with Mayor Jackson and has offered any legislative assistance she can provide to resolve issues at the Trenton Water Works.