NEWARK, NJ - State Sen. Ronald L. Rice introduced a new bill Thursday requiring financial institutions that have foreclosed on properties in New Jersey to remove water service lines that contain lead. 

The legislation is part of the ongoing effort to tackle the water quality dilemma plaguing the state, specifically what's taking place in Newark. Earlier this month, State Sen, M. Teresa Ruiz introduced legislation that would let municipalities across New Jersey adopt ordinances allowing local governments to change lead service lines without a property owners permission.

“New Jersey has a massive amount of foreclosed homes which are now owned by banks and other financial institutions. When those homes are bought by new owners, they should be bought free of service lines that contain lead,” said Rice (D-Essex) said in a news release.

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The bill requires financial institutions that have foreclosed on a property to replace all lead water service lines on the property that are not the responsibility of the appropriate utility service.

“It is up to the banks to replace these since they have the resources and ownership to do so. This would take the immense financial burden off of the potential homeowner and make sure homes are sold in safe and decent condition," Rice said.

Second to lead paint, the leading source of lead in young children is from contaminated water, Rice said. The bill would prevent continuous exposure to lead from privately owned lead water service lines.