Ruiz Introduces Legislation to Expedite Lead Service Line Replacements

Trenton – Senate President Pro Tempore M. Teresa Ruiz introduced legislation that would give municipalities the authority to adopt an ordinance that would permit them to enter properties and perform lead service line replacements.

“The cost of upgrading our water infrastructure falls disproportionately on older American cities, and it’s critical that we create a permanent solution to eliminate the risk of lead in our water for all families. This bill will help municipalities achieve that, even when they are unable to reach property owners. It will give them the authority to pass ordinances permitting entrance into properties without consent in order to replace lead lines,” said Senator Ruiz (D-Essex). “Especially in communities with large renter populations, this will ensure towns can take action to protect families and individuals living in homes with unresponsive landlords.

“Working collaboratively with the Mayor of Newark on this endeavor, we felt this was an important step in ensuring municipalities are able to replace lead services lines. The city council has taken the first step towards passing the ordinance and this bill will protect them from legal challenges by making it clear that it is within their power to pursue the measure.”

The bill, S-4110, gives municipalities the authority to adopt an ordinance that allows them to enter a residential property to perform a lead service line replacement, as long as they notify residents at least 24 hours prior to entering the property.

Municipalities would be required to attempt to inform residents in person and post a written notice if they are unable to be reached in person. Following the line replacement, the municipality would be required to send a certified letter summarizing the work completed.