HACKENSACK, NJ (Bergen County) — As New Jersey children head back to school, U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) Wednesday announced how the bipartisan infrastructure bill will invest $1 billion in New Jersey to replace lead pipes and service lines, combat “forever chemicals” harming local water supplies, and improve water infrastructure.
Gottheimer joined with local officials, educators, and students today to push for the bipartisan infrastructure bill to be passed and signed into law as soon as possible.
At Hackensack High School — where the school has installed filtration systems to ensure the water is safe for children to consume — Gottheimer was joined by Hackensack Mayor John Labrosse, Hackensack Public Schools Superintendent Robert Sanchez, Hackensack Councilman Leo Battaglia, Hackensack High School Principal Jim Montesano, Carol Feinstein, NJEA Uniserv Representative, Hackensack High School senior Curtis Whiting, educators, and students.
New Jersey has 350,000 lead service lines and pipes — contaminating drinking water and harming our families. Nationwide, there are up to 10 million American households and 400,000 schools and child care centers lacking safe drinking water.
“This investment will directly make progress on the concerns that I regularly hear from parents — that the water they and their children are consuming may not be safe. We cannot afford to take these risks with our kids and students; the stakes are simply too high — we have to ensure these harmful substances are filtered out of our families’ water,” Gottheimer said. “Here’s the big win to improve our water infrastructure here in the Garden State: New Jersey will expect to receive $1 billion over five years from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill — to improve water infrastructure across our state and to ensure that clean, safe drinking water is a right for our kids and families.”
Hackensack Mayor John Labrosse said, “The health and safety of our families is of the utmost importance. The passage of this bill will guarantee us safe drinking water for generations to come. I want to thank Congressman Gottheimer on driving this bill forward and I urge the House to pass this bill.”
“It has been well established that lead is a toxic metal that can be harmful to human health. This is especially true for children due to their developing brains and nervous system,” Hackensack Public Schools Superintendent Robert Sanchez said. “Studies have shown that even small amounts of lead exposure can increase the risk of developmental effects. This is why it is extremely important that the bipartisan infrastructure bill be passed now to decrease the risk of lead exposure for our school community and our youngest learners. The time for safe drinking water for all is now! We can no longer wait.”
Exposure to lead can have a severe impact on children, stunting development, causing learning disabilities, hearing loss, seizures, and irreversible harm to brain development, the nervous system, and vital organs.