SUSSEX BOROUGH, NJ (Sussex County) — U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) Monday joined with local leaders to announce a new $100,000 federal investment clawed back from Washington to Sussex County to help fix critical water infrastructure for our children and families — including repairing older leaking pipes that can cause water contamination.
This new investment will help Sussex Borough acquire an acoustic leak detection system to detect leaks and repair them before they become pipe breaks. It will also help make necessary repairs to the 100-year-old water main. This federal investment will help ensure that families and small businesses in Sussex Borough and Wantage have access to clean water for decades to come.
The investment builds on Gottheimer’s broader Clean Water Action Plan, which includes action taken to help our towns, schools, and water treatment facilities remove dangerous lead and forever chemicals from our children’s drinking water, stop waste dumping in the area, and provide greater transparency to our families about drinking water in our schools. It also builds on the progress Gottheimer has led over recent years for greater transparency and investment to address dangerous lead and forever chemicals in water in North Jersey schools.
Leaking pipes and water main breaks present a potential pathway for contaminants and bacteria to enter the drinking water system, putting our families and children at risk. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, water main breaks can result in serious microbial or chemical contamination because a drop in pressure can lead to non-potable water entering the system. Water main breaks can flood entire neighborhoods, wreak havoc on traffic, cause water shortages, and waste millions of gallons of treated water.
Gottheimer is also working with other towns across the Fifth District, including Park Ridge, Mahwah, and Fair Lawn, to replicate this success and claw back even more of our own tax dollars to help improve their water treatment facilities. The more of our federal tax dollars that we get back to Northern New Jersey, the less pressure on our towns’ budgets and taxpayers.
“For years now, it’s my top priority to get clean drinking water for our children and families and I’ve been fighting in Congress to claw more tax dollars back to Jersey. A critical $100,000 bipartisan federal investment has now been signed into law to help fix older pipes, detect leaks, reduce water contamination, and help prevent pipes impacting Sussex County residents in Wantage and Sussex Borough,” Gottheimer said. “With bipartisan legislation I helped pass and get signed into law, and the $1 billion for water infrastructure I helped secure for Jersey through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, we’re helping get bacteria, contaminants, lead, and forever chemicals out of our drinking water. I’m also working with other towns across the Fifth District, including Park Ridge, Mahwah, and Fair Lawn, to replicate this success and claw back even more of our own tax dollars to help improve their water treatment facilities. The more of our federal tax dollars that we get back to Northern New Jersey, the less our towns have to charge in local taxes — and I’m all about lowering taxes.”
“The Congressman has been a great ally of Sussex Borough over the years. He has reached out to us to gain understanding of our needs and find resources available,” said Sussex Borough Mayor Ed Meyer. “Being selected by the Congressman as a project for direct funding has improved our ability to address our sewer and water needs without drastically increasing our rates or negatively impacting the quality of life of our residents. Every dollar Sussex receives in grants is one dollar less the residents of Sussex Borough must fund.”
Gottheimer was joined today on Sussex Borough’s Main Street by Sussex Borough Mayor Ed Meyer, Sussex Borough Council President Robert Holowach, and Sussex Township Administrator Jim DeBlock.
Gottheimer’s Clean Water Action Plan includes the following:
- Clawing Back Federal Dollars to North Jersey for Clean Water Projects: In addition to today’s announcement in Sussex Borough, Gottheimer also successfully clawed back a $2.8 million federal investment for Ridgewood Water to improve their water treatment facility and address elevated levels of lead and forever chemicals in the water supply. Ridgewood Water serves more than 62,000 residents across Ridgewood, Wyckoff, Midland Park, and Glen Rock. Gottheimer is working to secure new federal investment for water treatment projects in Mahwah, Fair Lawn, and Park Ridge. Gottheimer also helped secure $1 billion for Jersey’s critical water infrastructure through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, which he helped craft and pass. These investments will help lower the local tax burden on our residents.
- Ensuring Transparency in Schools: Working with parents, state legislators, and the Governor, from 2017 to 2019, Gottheimer called to create a centralized, easy-to-access school lead water reporting database for the State of New Jersey. In 2019, the database website was unveiled, allowing for parents and communities to access up-to-date information on dangerous lead water in their children’s schools. Furthermore, a key piece of Gottheimer’s bipartisan Lead-Free Schools Act was enacted into law via the America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018, creating a targeted pilot program using existing resources to improve drinking water infrastructure in schools nationwide with lead in their water.
- Replacing Lead Service Lines: Last year, a North Jersey private water provider, Suez Water, announced that 7,800 lead lines had been removed and that lead levels across the system were at historic lows. Suez committed to having no lead in their system in 10 years. Gottheimer has now called on every single provider, private and public, to remove lead from all service lines going to houses. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, which he helped shape and pass, provides investment to water utilities and municipal water systems to begin removing lead service lines.