Every lead and galvanized water service line in the Garden State needs to be replaced over the next several years.

Select towns are now in a better position to get that work done with plenty of time to spare.

Federal officials joined the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection in New Brunswick on Monday to announce that 10 New Jersey communities have been picked to participate in an initiative that aims to accelerate the replacement of lead service lines.

Through the program from the Environmental Protection Agency, the chosen communities will be getting hands-on support with lead service line removals, including the creation of lead-line inventories, support with applications for Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding, and increased outreach and education efforts.

"Addressing lead in drinking water is long overdue," said Radhika Fox, EPA administrator for water. "New Jersey's role in lead service line replacement serves as a model for the rest of the nation."

New Jersey utilities aren't fully aware of the number of lead-impacted lines that are underground. For routine households, a portion of the line is owned by the customer and the part closer to the street is owned by the utility.

A law signed by Gov. Phil Murphy in 2021 requires that water providers replace lead and galvanized service lines — both utility-owned and customer-owned — within 10 years.

The Biden Administration wants to see the same done across the nation by 2023.

The 10 communities participating in the federal program are:

⚫ Blackwood

⚫ Clementon

⚫ East Newark

⚫ Harrison

⚫ Keansburg

⚫ Keyport

⚫ New Brunswick

⚫ Ventnor

⚫ Camden

⚫ Trenton

"Lead exposure endangers the health of our families and children, especially in older urban communities like New Brunswick, said Jaymie Sanitago," president and CEO of New Brunswick Tomorrow. "The Lead Service Line Replacement Accelerators program is a tremendous opportunity to remove this public health scourge from our water infrastructure once and for all."

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