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HMUA ACTING ON GROUNDBREAKING LEAD SERVICE LINE LEGISLATION

February 22, 2022 at 1:05 pm

In accordance with groundbreaking state legislation that is designed to reduce lead in drinking water and improve public health, public community water utilities in New Jersey have taken the first steps to identify and replace the state’s lead-containing service lines. Certified letters have been sent to all HMUA customers who have a known lead or galvanized service line informing them of the dangers of lead in drinking water and listing actions they can take to reduce their exposure.

In July, 2021, state legislation (P.L. 2021, c.183) was enacted to replace all service lines made of lead or galvanized steel within 10 years (i.e., by July 2031), positioning New Jersey to be the first state in the nation to do so.  Exposure to high levels of lead is a serious health risk. Lead builds up in the body over many years and can cause damage to the brain, red blood cells, and kidneys. The greatest risk is to young children, pregnant women, and unborn babies.

HMUA has no service lines constructed of lead; however, HMUA has 68 galvanized steel service lines.  Galvanized lines are considered to be lead by NJDEP, although not currently labeled as lead by USEPA.  The HMUA plans to replace all galvanized steel service lines by 2024, on both the portion owned and maintained by the HMUA and the portion owned by the property owner, all at no direct cost to the property owner. The lead service line replacement program will help to further ensure public health and quality of life. 

HMUA has created an inventory of water service line materials that is available to the public on its website www.hmua.com , “Service Line Information”, along with “Frequently Asked Questions” and additional information regarding lead and galvanized steel service lines.   

“Taking steps to protect our customers from lead exposure is not new,” said HMUA Executive Director Kathleen Corcoran. “As part of our water treatment process, we add corrosion control chemical into our well water system, which further helps minimize the amount of lead from household plumbing which could dissolve into the water. We also regularly sample for lead in compliance with state and federal regulations.   The most recent sampling period was the summer of 2021 and the 90th percentile value was 3.0 ppb which meets NJDEP and USEPA requirements of not being greater than 15 ppb.”

Because property owners own a portion of the water service line, HMUA may not have complete information on what those service lines are composed of inside the building.  HMUA is seeking assistance from those customers with galvanized service lines to provide contact information to HMUA and assistance with obtaining information needed to undertake the service line replacement construction. HMUA can be contacted at 908-852-3622 or custserv@hmua.com.

 

For more information on New Jersey’s Lead Service Line Legislation, visit this New Jersey.com article about the legislation.   For more information about lead in drinking water, watch this AWWA video “Getting the Lead Out”For more information on how to mitigate the public health risk of lead service lines, visit the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s webpage on lead in drinking water

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