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Ruiz, Greenstein Bill to Prevent Spread of Legionnaires’ Disease Advances

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Trenton – In an effort to protect against contaminated water, the Senate today advanced legislation sponsored by Senate Majority Leader M. Teresa Ruiz and Senator Linda Greenstein which would set disinfectant levels and require testing to prevent the transmission of Legionnaires’ disease.


“New Jersey continues to see between 250 and 350 cases of Legionnaires’ each year around the state, with a cluster recently showing up in Camden County,” said Senator Ruiz (D-Essex). “This legislation will ensure water authorities are taking proper precautions to prevent the growth and transmission of Legionella bacteria, which cause serious cases of pneumonia, especially among the elderly and immunocompromised.”


The bill, S-1006, would require the Department of Environmental Protection, the Department of Health and owners or operators of public water systems to take certain steps to prevent and control cases of Legionnaires’ disease.


Under the bill, water systems with 100 or more service connections would have to maintain certain minimum detectible disinfectant levels throughout the entirety of the water system. They would also be required to conduct frequent testing to determine the amount and type of detectable disinfectant residual existing at different points in the water system.


“This legislation would put in place reasonable measures that protect our children, the elderly, and immunocompromised residents from serious illness,” said Senator Greenstein (D-Mercer/Middlesex). “Legionnaires’ disease can be prevented. Through the application of more guidance and oversight, we can better safeguard the health and wellness of all New Jerseyans.”


Under the bill, the DEP is authorized to adopt rules and regulations to implement additional disinfectant or testing requirements in order to minimize the growth and transmission of Legionella bacteria.


The bill was released from the Senate by a vote of 24-13.