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Gov. Phil Murphy was joined by Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff) and Democratic legislators from the 38th district to announce initiatives to enhance New Jersey’s response to lead testing and safe drinking water.
The Murphy administration will expand water tests in public schools from every six years to every three, expand enforcement measures against non-compliant school districts, and strengthen transparency by making it easier for parents to find water test results online.
Speaking at an elementary school in Bergenfield, Murphy praised Gottheimer, State Sen. Joseph Lagana (D-Paramus), Assemblyman Christopher Tully (D-Bergenfield) and Assemblywoman Lisa Swain (D-Fair Lawn) for their effort.
“New Jersey’s aging water infrastructure has ignited a statewide discussion regarding the best path forward to protect residents from the dangers of lead,” Murphy said. “By mobilizing the state’s resources to incorporate rigorous testing standards, modernize reporting mechanisms, and repair critical water infrastructure, we are strengthening our efforts to overcome a statewide challenge that has been building over many decades.”
Murphy touted Gottheimer’s Lead-Free Schools Act, which was signed into law last year.
“Every child deserves to drink water that’s free of lead, and every parent deserves to know if their child’s school has lead in their pipes, sinks, or water fountains,” said Gottheimer. We’re here to announce steps to give parents and communities easy-to-access and up-to-date information on their child’s school’s water. It’s a level of transparency many of us have been calling for, for years now.”
Lagana said he has introduced legislation to increase transparency surrounding water quality issues.
“Lead in our drinking water is a public health concern that we must act to address immediately,” Lagana said. “It is necessary to work with all levels of government on this issue and the full commitment of the Administration and Legislative Leadership will greatly aide the fight to ensure our families have access to clean water.”
Tully, a former Bergenfield Council President who was Gottheimer’s district director before winning a State Assembly seat, said he was proud to have worked side-by-side with the congressman on clean water issues.
“Now I’m sponsoring a bill package that would increase regulation and oversight of schools, daycares, water systems and landlords, ensure that water system customers, schools and daycare centers, and the proper State and local authorities are quickly notified of exceedances, and make it easier for towns to replace lead service lines,” Tully said.