Landlords across the Garden State are now required to tell tenants when their drinking water has high lead levels, thanks to a new law signed Tuesday by Gov. Phil Murphy.
Under the law, public water systems have 10 calendar days to notify their customers after a lead action level exceedance is confirmed. If a landlord receives such a notice, they then have three business days to notify their tenants of the issue.
The new law aims to improve public awareness of drinking water problems, particularly in communities with high rental rates. In Newark, where high-profile lead issues spurred leaders into action, 78% of city residents rent their homes.
“We must continue to take proactive action to protect our communities from the dangers of lead exposure,” Murphy said in a statement. “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.”
The new law is effective immediately. Previously, there was no requirement that landlords pass lead warnings on to their tenants.
The measure (S968/A2863) was first introduced in the state Senate by Sen. Troy Singleton, D-Burlington, at the start of 2020. It was passed by lawmakers at the end of March, clearing the Assembly on a 72-0 vote and the state Senate on a 35-0 vote.
“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,” Singleton said in a statement. “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.”