NJ Governor Lays Out Plan On Lead Contamination

Associated Press
October 10, 2019 - 9:40 am

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy is calling for a sweeping $500 million bond to finance the replacement of lead pipes and lead paint across the state.

The Democrat outlined his "comprehensive strategy'' for dealing with the state's lead issue on Thursday, two months after problems surfaced in Newark with positive tests for lead in drinking water.

"New Jersey must move forward with a truly comprehensive and whole-of-government approach to removing the danger of lead from our communities. And, we will," said Murphy, who wants to remove and replace all lead service lines across the state within the next 10 years.

The multi-pronged plan also calls on his Cabinet to come up with a publicly available lead testing strategy and an inventory of lead paint and plumbing. Only a handful of states require or do voluntary inventories of lead pipes leading to homes.

"It is a truly comprehensive statewide approach to lead that will make New Jersey the national model for how to address a scourge that exists throughout the country," Murphy said. "It is an approach that requires us to dig deep to find the will to do what’s right for our long-term future, rather than reaching for yet another band-aid that we know will only cover the underlying problem.

It's unclear whether the $500 million bond would be enough to finance the project entirely. Some estimates put the price tag of lead pipe replacement alone at $2 billion.