New Jersey to get $169 million for clean water under infrastructure law

Press Release

Date: Dec. 4, 2021
Location: Washington, DC
Issues: Infrastructure

The $1 trillion infrastructure law signed last month by President Joe Biden will include $168.9 million for New Jersey next year to begin replacing lead water pipes and addressing drinking water contamination, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The new law includes funding to get rid of every lead water pipe, a project that in New Jersey alone will cost an estimated $2.3 billion to replace 350,000 lead service lines, according to the American Water Works Association.
The state Legislature has passed legislation requiring that every lead water pipe be replaced... .

In addition, the EPA allocation includes funding to address drinking water contamination caused by per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances, known as PFAS.

PFAS do not easily break down naturally, allowing them to build up in the environment and in humans. They have been linked to cancer and other diseases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Much of the contamination was found around Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurt, where such chemicals were used in firefighting foam.

Previous groundwater testing there found PFAS levels up to 264,000 parts per trillion, making it one of the most contaminated sites in the nation, according to the Environmental Working Group, an advocacy organization.

The state in January sued the federal government to help cover the costs of cleaning up the contamination.

New Jersey was one of the first states to establish drinking water standards for PFAS, and the House in July passed legislation to set national standards for the chemical, with all 12 New Jersey lawmakers voting yes, including Reps. Jeff Van Drew, R-2nd Dist., and Chris Smith, R-4th Dist., who crossed party lines to do so.

Overall, New Jersey will receive at least $13.5 billion from the bill, which also provides federal funding to build the long-awaited Gateway Tunnel under the Hudson River.