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Smith Bill Requiring Continued Education For Well Drillers Approved

TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senator Bob Smith which would require continued education for licensed well drillers in the State of New Jersey was unanimously approved by the Senate Environment Committee.

“Well drilling is far more than just putting a hole in the ground, and there should be a greater emphasis on continued education to require drillers to utilize the best practices to improve safety and reduce the impact on the environment,” said Senator Smith, D-Middlesex and Somerset, the Chairman of the Senate Environment Committee. “By requiring proof of continued education for license renewal, we would ensure that drillers keep up to date with current safety standards for wells.”

The bill, S-2172, would require every licensed well driller and pump installer in New Jersey to complete the continued education requirements established by the State Well Drillers and Pump Installers Examining and Advisory Board before they could be renewed for licensure by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). Under the bill, however, the DEP could waive the education requirements on an individual basis based on proof of hardship, including active military service, illness or disability, or another good cause.

Senator Smith added that contaminated wells pose a serious public health risk, and that through continued education requirements, drillers and pump installers would be better trained to handle the risk of contaminated wells.

“Every year, contaminated well water contributes to a drastic undercutting of our viable drinking water in New Jersey,” said Senator Smith. “While a number of factors contribute to the pollution of well water, the initial construction of a well is a key component in that. If we can continually update our drillers and pump installers with the best practices on the books, we may be able to reduce the number of contaminated wells discovered in the Garden State each year.”

The bill now heads to the full Senate for consideration, before going to the Assembly for approval.