Gov. Phil Murphy and Congressman Josh Gottheimer on Oct. 7 announced several initiatives to strengthen the state’s response to lead testing and the remediation of elevated lead levels in drinking water in New Jersey schools.
The governor said he will ask the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) to strengthen its safe drinking water regulations to require schools to test for lead every three years, rather than every six years, to ensure timely detection of elevated lead levels.
The governor’s proposed regulations would also include enhanced enforcement measures against non-compliant school entities, such as public reporting of districts that are out of compliance, penalties imposed during the district’s NJQSAC review, and investigation by the NJDOE’s Office of Fiscal Accountability and Compliance.
Under the regulations, the NJDOE would also create and host a centralized, state-managed database complete with lead testing results and information from all school districts. Additionally, the administration will prioritize remediation projects for districts with lead action level exceedances using $100 million in voter-approved bond funding for school water infrastructure improvement projects through the Securing Our Children’s Future Bond Act.
More details of the governor’s announcement are available here.