The state plans to replace all lead water service lines within the next decade — helping put an end to lead poisoning found in old housing stock and schools. On Thursday, Gov. Phil Murphy signed into law three bills that will require mandatory inventory of the service lines, remove restrictions so towns and water companies have more options to pay for the pipe replacements, enforce regular inspections and remediations for lead in rental properties, and establish a new education program on lead-based paint hazards for both tenants and landlords.
There are an estimated 300,000 lead service lines in New Jersey. Advocates say Murphy’s signature makes New Jersey the first in the nation to put a “hard target” on eliminating the pipes. While lead exposure declined in recent years, state health department data shows nearly 5,000 children had elevated blood lead levels between 2018 and 2019. No amount of lead is safe to ingest and leads to developmental issues in children.