The law also requires that all lead and galvanized metal pipes be replaced within a decade. It’s a worthwhile goal, but an expensive one – more than $ 2 billion nationwide. There are an estimated 300,000 to 850,000 such utilities nationwide, mostly in cities in the northeast and southwest of the state, but also in affluent cities like Margate and Stone Harbor.
A central question on this issue was how the work would be paid. The government paid to have it done in Newark. The recently passed federal infrastructure bill worth $ 1 trillion is beginning to respond nationwide.
The bill passed includes $ 15 billion for lead pipe replacement, up from the more realistic $ 45 billion in the original bill. New Jersey’s expected share of this will be a fraction of the $ 2 billion needed to do the work across the state, leaving the question of who pays when.
Last month, Murphy and lawmakers tightened the standards of the Water Quality Accountability Act of 2017 and tasked the Department of Environmental Protection with enforcing them. This requires that all state water utility companies provide detailed information on upgrading and maintaining water systems and allow the DEP to view the status of their work on their website.
This will add transparency to the complex process of eliminating potentially hazardous water supply lines in New Jersey.