PARK RIDGE BOROUGH, NJ (Bergen County) — U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) Tuesday visited the Park Ridge Water Supply to highlight how New Jersey will claw back $1 billion in federal investment over the next five years from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill to address critical water infrastructure needs. The federal investment will help improve water infrastructure, get forever chemicals and lead out of our families’ water, and overall improve the quality of life for New Jersey residents.
Currently, Park Ridge is looking to make key infrastructure improvements to update and upgrade their water system to comply with New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) requirements, and to get any dangerous chemicals out of residents’ drinking water — including PFOAs, a type of PFAS, or forever chemical.
“Updating Park Ridge’s water supply to provide clean water to our community is exactly the type of project the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill can help make a reality. I believe that every child — every family — deserves to drink water that’s free of lead and dangerous chemicals, and every parent deserves to know that their school and town’s drinking water is safe to drink,” said Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5). “Across the board, we simply should not be relying on major infrastructure that is decades old and puts our communities at risk — that goes for our water, roads, bridges, tunnels, and more. Instead, we should be building infrastructure that is ready to last and support our communities for the decades to come.”
Gottheimer helped shape and pass the historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, along with the Problem Solvers Caucus, which he Co-Chairs, and a group of Democrats and Republicans from both the House and Senate.
In addition to the $1 billion in federal investment to improve New Jersey’s water infrastructure, the Garden State will also claw back historic investments for repairing roads and bridges, building the Gateway Tunnel, electric vehicle infrastructure, broadband, public transportation, and climate resilience.
Currently, the Park Ridge Water Department has 18-20 wells and three of those wells have been shut down due to having borderline amounts of PFOAs.
It will cost Park Ridge $8 million to update and upgrade their water system and investments from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill are critical to ensuring these investments are made.
New Jersey has 350,000 lead service lines, according to the American Water Works Association, which are lead pipes that connect a water main to premises like a home or school — from the curb to the home. Any pipe leading to a home or school built before 1988 could have lead pipes. According to 2019 research, approximately 480 school buildings across a third of New Jersey’s school districts recorded lead levels that exceeded 15 parts per billion, which is unacceptable.
Currently, up to 10 million American households and 400,000 schools and child care centers lack safe drinking water. The EPA estimates that at least 20 percent of human lead exposure is from drinking water.
Gottheimer was joined at one of Park Ridge’s water storage tanks today by Park Ridge Mayor Keith Misciagna, General Manager of Borough of Park Ridge Water Chris O’Leary, Park Ridge Borough Administrator Julie Falkenstern, Park Ridge Director of Operations Paul Longo, and Park Ridge CFO Connie Carpenter.