HAWORTH, NJ (Bergen County) — U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) Tuesday stopped by the SUEZ Haworth Water Treatment Plant to highlight how the clean water provisions in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill will help get lead and forever chemicals like PFAS out of our drinking water — protecting North Jersey children and families.
Gottheimer also wrote to New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy outlining requests to help ensure key water infrastructure projects are fully funded, noting how he plans to fight for every nickel possible to replace lead pipes in our communities and to invest in our water treatment facilities across the Fifth District.
It’s not only water infrastructure— Gottheimer also asked the Governor to direct resources here to the Fifth District for other critical infrastructure projects identified by our state and local officials, from roads and rails, including New Jersey Transit, to bridges and broadband, and storm resiliency – and, of course, the Gateway Tunnel.
By investing more than $1 billion right here in New Jersey to address critical water infrastructure needs, not only will the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill help replace lead service lines, but it will also help improve water systems and get forever chemicals like PFAS out of our water. In New Jersey alone, there are 350,000 lead service lines, according to the American Water Works Association, and towns across the state are dealing with high PFAS levels.
“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. This is a fight to protect our children and our families and we must keep swinging hard against lead and forever chemicals until we win” Gottheimer said. “And now, thanks to the recently-enacted Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, we will finally have the resources to make the critical investments we need to help protect our children’s drinking water from lead and other dangerous, forever chemicals both here in New Jersey and around the country. As Co-Chair of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, I was very proud to have worked with my Democratic and Republican colleagues in the House and Senate to draft and fight to pass this once-in-a-century legislation. There is nothing partisan about clean drinking water for our kids and families.”
“Investing in infrastructure is essential to the health of communities. That’s why SUEZ invests heavily in New Jersey, with $810 million in projects slated over the next five years,” said Alan Weland, Vice President and General Manager of SUEZ Utility Operations in New Jersey. “These investments, from replacing water mains and removing lead service lines to improving treatment systems and ensuring dam safety, will ensure residents and businesses have clean water and reliable service for generations to come. We thank Congressman Gottheimer for efforts on the Infrastructure and Jobs Act, which will bring $1 billion in infrastructure support to New Jersey. This will have a significant impact on communities across the state and help communities improve water and wastewater systems.”
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill builds on the work Gottheimer has been leading for years and the progress already made in New Jersey for clean drinking water:
- In 2018 and 2019, Gottheimer worked with parents, local officials, elected officials and groups like the League of Conservation Voters, Clean Water Action, and the Sierra Club, for greater transparency into lead water levels in our schools. The state launched an easy-to-access, centralized database of lead testing results in every school, and they increased required school lead testing from every six to every three years.
- The Lead-Free Schools Act, which Gottheimer introduced in 2017 was enacted into law as part of the America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018, creating a targeted pilot program to help get lead out of drinking water in schools across the country.
- Gottheimer also addressed the need for clean water in our communities in his Five Point Green Action Plan — the very first point was making sure we protect clean water in our fight against climate change, to update our service lines and pipes to get lead out of our water systems, and ensure that our water infrastructure is sustainable and resilient.