New Jersey governor has long-term plan to address lead abatement

David Madden
October 13, 2019 - 4:30 am
Gov. Phil Murphy

Danielle Parhizkaran/


TRENTON, N.J. (KYW Newsradio) — The Murphy administration is adopting a number of recommendations from a task force aimed at dealing with lead in water pipes and homes across the state. On top on the to-do list is a $500 million bond issue on next year’s election ballot to begin the process of paying for it all. 

There could be hundreds of thousands of lead tainted water pipes. It could take years to just narrow down the scope of the problem. And then there are homes that predate the 1978 ban on lead-based paint. 

Gov. Phil Murphy suggests modest increases in water rates paired with state aid for communities where that could have a difficult impact could address the water problem. Schools and day care centers would be tested every three years and homes would be checked before they’re sold.

“I am putting forward a goal from New Jersey to remove and replace all lead service lines across our state within the next 10 years,” Murphy said at a press conference in Trenton. “This is a huge task and it will require partnership and further investments by water systems, developers and county and local governments and authorities.”

Legislative leaders say they are willing to consider the proposals, which the governor concedes is necessary to get this blueprint to work.

“We need to find the political will to put every tool at our disposal,” he added, “and to ensure a more targeted deployment of our resources to protect children and families, ensure healthy communities and create a future where the effects of lead are a thing of the past.”

Some groups like the Sierra Club say Murphy is not acting with enough urgency, particularly when it comes to children.