On June 24, 2021, New Jersey lawmakers signed several bills that will provide health protection from public exposure to lead, including water contamination from lead pipes. One bill will require an inventory of lead service lines be completed within six months by all community water systems in the state; this bill will also result in all lead pipes being replaced within 10-15 years. This will make New Jersey the third state to mandate the replacement lead pipes following Michigan and Illinois. To cover the cost of pipe replacement, the bill will allow investor-owned companies to charge respective system customers fees with the approval of the fee structure by the state Board of Public Utilities. In 1986 Congress amended the Safe Drinking Water Act, to prohibit using pipes, solder, or flux that were not “lead free” in public water systems or plumbing in facilities providing water for human consumption. These efforts are meant to address the legacy contamination effects of earlier pipe use. Other requirements to curb lead exposure in this and other regulations would:
- Require public water systems to offer free testing for lead in water during an action level exceedance or partial lead service line replacement
- Ensure renters are informed about any lead paint hazards before they move in by expanding inspection requirements, requiring remediation, and creating a lead paint hazard education program
- Add a question about the home seller’s awareness about the presence of lead plumbing and lead service lines onto the property condition disclosure statement, which is a first step to ensuring home buyers are informed.