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Sen. Bob Menendez. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe)

Menendez celebrates passage of bill to combat waterborne lead

By Nikita Biryukov, April 29 2021 2:41 pm

U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez celebrated the passage of a bill providing funding to states, cities and towns for the replacement of aging lead water lines Thursday.

“Replacing lead service lines and modernizing drinking water and wastewater infrastructure is a matter of public health, environmental safety, and racial and economic justice,” he said. “New Jersey is home to some of the oldest towns and cities in America, and many are grappling with aging water infrastructure, including lead pipes and outdated wastewater and stormwater systems.”

In 2019, waterborne lead in Newark and other cities in the state emerged as a major issue. Costly efforts to replace the aging lines in the Brick City have advanced quicker than anticipated, and Newark is now nearing completion of its overhaul.

The Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act of 2021 would authorize $35 billion in revolving funds for clean drinking water. At least $14 billion is dedicated to loans and grants to disadvantages communities.

It would also create a grant program for lead line replacement and devote $500 million to reducing lead levels in drinking water.

“The passage of this legislation will compliment future efforts by Congress to make bold investments in water infrastructure and meet President Biden’s goal of replacing every remaining lead service line in America,” Menendez said.

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