By NANETTE LoBIONDO GALLOWAY
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Ventnor City is among 10 municipalities in New Jersey selected to receive technical support for lead service line identification and replacement.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Assistant Administrator for Water Radhika Fox today announced a partnership with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to assist municipalities as part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to deliver clean drinking water to families and children through the EPA’s Lead Service Line Replacement Accelerator initiative. The initiative will offer targeted technical assistance to help underserved communities reduce exposure to lead in drinking water and to protect health of New Jersey children and families.
Fox said New Jersey’s role in lead service line replacement will serve as a model for the rest of the nation.
“Together we can protect children and families where they live, work, and play,” Fox said in a release.
In addition to Ventnor, Blackwood, Camden, Clementon, East Newark, Harrison, Keansburg, Keyport, New Brunswick and Trenton will work hand-in-hand with EPA and DEP to get the lead out.
The communities will receive technical assistance to identify lead pipes in their water systems, develop plans to replace lead pipes that pose risks to human health, increase community outreach and education efforts, and access some of the $15 billion in the the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law dedicated to lead service line removal and replacement.
Ventnor City Mayor Lance Landgraf has said replacing all the lead connections and galvanized steel water service lines in the city is projected to cost as much as $65 million over the next 10 years.
“Ventnor City is excited about our partnership and thrilled to have the assistance of the EPA in moving our lead service line replacement project forward. The assistance that EPA staff and consultants have already provided is saving our city money and advancing this important project at an accelerated pace,” Landgraf said. “Their expertise, alongside that of our City Engineer Ed Stinson, is invaluable. We want to take this opportunity to thank the EPA in choosing Ventnor City to partner with them.”
Landgraf said the technical support announcement did not indicate a monetary value, but the award will assist with the cost of engineering and educate the public about the project.
“Any amount of lead in our nation’s drinking water infrastructure is a threat to the health and well-being of American residents and families,” U.S. Senator Bob Menendez said. “As home to some of the oldest water infrastructure in the nation, I have fought tirelessly to secure the federal funding necessary to continue replacing New Jersey’s lead service lines and modernizing drinking water pipes in communities across the state.”
“The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law has brought historic levels of funding to replace lead service lines and remove a threat to the health of our most vulnerable neighbors, particularly children,” Sen. Cory Booker said. “The Biden-Harris Administration’s Lead Service Line Replacement Accelerators initiative has delivered targeted technical assistance to increase access to safe, clean drinking water, and I’m excited to see its benefits flow to more communities in New Jersey so they can protect the health of children and families.”
“The Murphy Administration, in partnership with the Biden-Harris Administration, is proud to accelerate the protection of every resident and child in New Jersey from the risk of lead exposure by identifying lead pipes and assuring they will be replaced,” DEP Commissioner Shawn M. LaTourette said. “The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is helping make it possible to empower our state with the tools, knowledge and resources to protect public health and ensure every community has clean and safe drinking water.”
According to the EPA, the science is clear that there is no safe level of lead exposure. EPA’s 7th Drinking Water Needs and Assessment Survey projects that a national total of 9.2 million lead services lines across the country need to be replaced.
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