Significant Drinking Water Bill Reaches Governor
A bill to improve our public drinking water systems recently passed the State Legislature and awaits the Governor’s signature. Designed to address the shortcomings of the 2017 Water Quality Accountability Act (WQAA), the legislation will require a comprehensive inventory, mapping, and condition assessment of the public water system’s assets, a priority order in which assets will be repaired or replaced as part of the asset management plan, and a long-term funding strategy to implement the plan. The new level of planning now required will ensure that drinking water purveyors stay on top of repairs and be better accountable for their infrastructure or else face significant penalties for noncompliance. In turn, more projects are likely to flow from the imposition of these new mandates, increasing the need for pipes to be replaced or upgraded in order to comply. As we reported in the past, NUCA New Jersey’s Executive Director Evan Piscitelli was invited to speak on the subject as part of a State Senate hearing to improve the WQAA in late 2019. Since then, our Association, along with other groups like UTCA and the NJUA, have assisted legislators with crafting and moving these sensible reforms. We appreciate their hard work and expect the Governor to sign the bill very soon.