Jersey Water Works has put together a 25-member task force to help solve the problem of lead in New Jersey's water systems.

Chris Daggett, the chairman for the statewide task force of lead and drinking water, says any workable solution could take years to accomplish.

Daggett, a former state environmental commissioner and a one-time independent candidate for governor, said the task force is made up of members of utility companies, nonprofit organizations, environmental organizations, government officials and scientists.

The task force will wrap up its work in September, then make general recommendations for policymakers.

Daggett said there are about 1.5 million people in New Jersey who are getting water from systems that have had some issues of lead in their drinking water. While the source of the water may not have lead, the element leaches into the water passing through old pipes.

Urban areas with aging buildings are a prime concern. School buildings that are 50 to 100 years old have been found to have water fountains and faucets with lead in the water.

"New Jersey has 11 cities that have a higher proportion of lead-affected children than Flint, Michigan, and an estimated 350,000 homes and small businesses —the fifth highest of any state that have lead lines coming into their buildings," said Kiki Jameson, president of The Fund for New Jersey, which is lending financial support for the initiative.

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