Governor Murphy Signs Legislation Improving Notification Of Elevated Lead Levels In Drinking Water

TRENTON – Governor Phil Murphy today signed legislation (S968/A2836) that will require public water systems to provide notice of elevated lead levels in drinking water to customers and local officials and require landlords to notify tenants of elevated lead levels.

“We must continue to take proactive action to protect our communities from the dangers of lead exposure,” said Governor Murphy. “This legislation will ensure that community members are aware of the levels of lead in their drinking water, a critical step toward protecting our children and families from the dangers of lead exposure.”

"We applaud this important legislation, which complements our efforts at DCA to reduce the threat of lead poisoning in homes across the state," said Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver, who serves as Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs. "We look forward to working with landlords to ensure tenants receive critical information about the quality of the drinking water that they and their loved ones consume."

“Thank you to the legislature and Governor Murphy for enacting legislation to protect the residents of NJ from lead exposure,” said NJBPU President Joseph L. Fiordaliso. “We should all be secure knowing that our water is safe to drink.” 

“Water systems and landlords must take care to ensure that New Jersey residents have accurate and timely information about potential risks to their drinking water and, by extension, their health,” said Acting Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Shawn M. LaTourette. “My DEP colleagues and I commend the Legislature for passing this bill, which complements Governor Murphy’s plan to reduce lead exposure statewide, including through the nation-leading regulatory framework that DEP is developing that will proactively reduce the risk of lead in drinking water.”

This bill requires that written notice of elevated lead levels in drinking water be provided to all customers no later than ten days after it is determined that lead levels are above the lead action level. That notice must also include details of the lead action level, provide information on the health effects of lead in drinking water, and provide information about steps a customer can take to reduce risk. Landlords will be required to deliver this notice to all tenants served by the water system within three days of receiving the notice from the public water system. The legislation supplements the Safe Drinking Water Act.

The bill was sponsored by Senators Troy Singleton and Joe Lagana and Assemblymembers Bill Moen, Lisa Swain and Chris Tully.

“New Jersey's water infrastructure is getting older by the day, and this law signifies the immediate action we need to take to stem the negative effects it is having on New Jersey residents,” said Senator Singleton. “Regardless of whether someone owns a home or rents one, they are entitled to know about elevated lead levels in their drinking water. While we relish these victories, we also recognize there is always more we can do and I will continue to fight for improved water quality throughout the state."

Assemblymembers Moen, Swain, and Tully issued the following joint statement: “Customers must immediately be notified when there are issues with their drinking water, allowing them to take the appropriate precautions. Monitoring our drinking water is crucial, but the people of New Jersey need to also be informed when there are abnormalities. This law will not only maintain the monitoring that is necessary, but will also keep the public informed and safe.”