Kids at water fountain
Kids at water fountain
  • Legislative Priority: Addressing emerging contaminants and infrastructure shortfalls and making sure protections apply to both homeowners and renters.
  • Budget Priority: Investment to keep our drinking water affordable and reliable.

Why is this on New Jersey LCV’s Common Agenda? 

Clean drinking water is an essential human right and emerging contaminants threaten both human health and water quality.

A recent analysis found that New Jersey has the second highest rate of per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in drinking water in the country. PFAS have been found virtually everywhere, from the Arctic to the Delaware River, and they have been linked to cancer and other serious human health impacts. PFAS are just one group of emerging contaminants that have alarming human health impacts. Microplastics, which result from the degradation of plastic in bodies of water, are another emerging contaminant that have been found in drinking water in recent years.

New Jersey has served as a leader in addressing emerging contaminants in drinking water.  In 2018, New Jersey was the first state to adopt a PFAS maximum contaminant level (MCL). However, the state needs to remain diligent and continue to regulate emerging contaminants and ensure that regulations are sufficiently stringent. Additionally, more studies are needed to fully understand the impacts of these contaminants and to examine strategies for their removal. Clean drinking water is an essential human right and emerging contaminants threaten both human health and water quality. New Jersey LCV will support legislation that addresses the threat of emerging contaminants and safeguards the drinking water of New Jersey residents.

Some of New Jersey’s pipes also haven’t been upgraded since they were constructed before the American Civil War.  Communities all over the state are contending with how to replace lead pipes, remove harmful cancer causing “forever chemicals” from drinking water supplies, while also needing significant investment in tackling stormwater issues that are only getting worse as the occurrence of extreme weather increases.  In all, New Jersey’s estimated water infrastructure needs a total of $30 billion over the next 20 years. Worst of all, without increased and continued large scale investment from the state and prudently deploying federal dollars, these costs will be paid for solely by rate-payers and local property tax-payers throughout the state – and concerningly most economically disadvantaged communities will shoulder disproportionately greater costs.