New Jersey Senate Clears Bill to Increase the Safety of Drinking Water

The New Jersey Senate approved legislation yesterday sponsored by Senator Holly Schepisi that would help municipally-owned water companies comply with new DEP regulations while still being able to provide water to customers.

“Due to New Jersey’s strict regulations concerning forever chemicals, water companies in the state are required by the DEP to engage in mitigation measures when any water well exceeds, or is expected to exceed, the maximum contaminant level for PFAS,” said Schepisi (R-39). “These measures can be extremely costly for small, municipally-owned water companies and can impair the ability of those companies to provide an adequate supply of water to the communities they serve. Many pre-existing wells exist on municipally-owned properties that are encumbered by Green Acres and are prohibited from constructing the very treatment vessels that are required. This legislation would address the issue by allowing certain exemptions from Green Acres regulations.”

Schepisi’s bill, S-3444, would allow municipal water systems, under certain circumstances, to use lands preserved for recreation and conservation for pre-existing water wells and associated treatment equipment or facilities.

It would also allow a municipally-owned and operated water utility to use a pre-existing well for the supply of drinking water and certain associated treatment vessels located on lands acquired, by a local government unit, for recreation or conservation purposes.

Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) is a member of the group of chemicals called per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), used as a processing aid in the manufacture of fluoropolymers used in non-stick cookware and other products, as well as other commercial and industrial uses, due to its resistance to harsh chemicals and high temperatures.

In 2018, New Jersey became the first state to adopt a maximum contaminant level (MCL) for any PFAS, setting an MCL of 13 parts per trillion for perfluorononanoic acid, or PFNA.

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