The Environmental Protection Agency this week announced an “accelerator” program aimed at helping 10 New Jersey towns meet their goals to replace lead service lines. The towns included are Blackwood, Camden, Clementon, East Newark, Harrison, Keansburg, Keyport, New Brunswick, Trenton, and Ventnor.
Water utilities across New Jersey face a state deadline to find and replace lead service lines within the next eight years. New Jersey has an estimated 143,000 lead service lines that need to be replaced and a million more of unknown composition.
“I go to bed with lead on the brain, and I wake up the same way,” says Trenton community organizer Shereyl Snider, who had the drinking water service lines to her father’s home checked for lead last year. Trenton Water Works has been working to replace lead lines, with maybe 20,000 to go.
“When I saw the pipes servicing my water like a straw, I was disturbed and sick to my stomach,” Snider said. “For years, I was drinking and cooking with water that was coming from a corroded service line. Lead was leaching into the water, coming into our home.”
“We’re in the second phase of lead service line replacement. And while our money is drying out, we hope to get some federal assistance and grant money so we can finish the job,” said Trenton Mayor Reed Gusciora.