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New Jersey Begins Process Of Removing Lead Lines From Water Service, Prioritizes Underserved Communities – CBS New York

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NEWARK, NJ (CBSNewYork) — More than 180,000 families in New Jersey will soon receive a letter from the state notifying them that lead pipes may be used to transport water into their homes.

CBS2’s Meg Baker spoke to a water provider Monday about the removal process.

A certified letter from the state Department of Environmental Protection should arrive by Tuesday if you have a lead service line. The problem occurs across the state, cities and suburbs alike.

“In 1987, the federal government banned lead in solders, faucets and pipes. It had been discovered that long-term exposure to lead was connected to multiple negative health effects, like behavior problems, kidney damage, anemia, and low birth weight,” environmental specialist Brandon Carreno said.

READ MORE: VP Kamala Harris Highlights Success Of Newark’s Lead Pipe Replacement Project

Legislation passed in July requires water providers to replace the line within 10 years. American Water, which serves one out of every three people in the state, says it sent out 25,000 letters. A map on its website allows you to enter your address and check to see if you are affected.

“We understand that this can be a frightening experience for homeowners,” said Mark McDonough, president of New Jersey American Water. “To the fact that you have a lead line or galvanized line and receive a letter like this does not mean the water is unsafe. In fact, we always meet or exceed federal and state standards.”

American Water has already started removing lead lines, and says it is prioritizing underserved communities.

“The unique piece to this legislation is that it gives us the responsibility for going to the homeowner side of the line, assets that we don’t own, and removing them and helping the homeowner replace those. So there will be a process where more permits will be needed and we will need the permission of the homeowner,” McDonough said.

FLASHBACK: High Lead Levels Detected In Water At Homes In 2 New Jersey Counties

Vice President Kamala Harris was in Newark last week highlighting the city’s work to eradicate lead service pipes in two and a half years, saying the city will be used as a model across the country.

Federal funding will help fund the statewide project.

“The bipartisan infrastructure legislation alone will provide more than $1 billion to New Jersey over the next five years,” DEP Commissioner Shawn Latourette said.

Latourette said this is the state’s moment to make transformative change and deliver reliable, clean drinking water to all residents.

If you have a question about your service line, contact your water provider or the NJDEP, at [email protected] or 609-292-5550.

CBS2’s Meg Baker contributed to this report.

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