WASHINGTON, DC -- Congressman Chris Smith (NJ-4) announced on recently that a measure is advancing in Congress would provide $22 billion -- $4.5 billion annually over the next five years -- for the federal Lead Reduction Grant Program. Smith said this appropriation could "alleviate the threat of lead in drinking water for Trenton Water Works (TWW) customers in Mercer County."
Since 2018, Smith has been working with TWW, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to pursue federal and state funding to assist with improving drinking water in Hamilton Township, Trenton, Lawrence, Ewing and Hopewell served the city-run agency.
“Clean drinking water is the most basic of necessities,” Smith said. “It is the responsibility of the local, State and federal officials to do everything they can to ensure that all citizens have access to safe drinking water.
“I supported this amendment to get more federal assistance into programs in New Jersey and other states, which in turn can use the funds on infrastructure improvements to deliver safe water to local water systems like Trenton Water Works and their customers," added Smith.
The Smith-backed amendment Smith added the funding to the Moving Forward Act, which provides critical dollars for much-needed infrastructure projects such as the Gateway Project and others in New Jersey. In addition to the $22.5 billion to help with lead reduction in local water systems, the measure also authorizes approximately $20 billion for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) over the next five years.
“Federal funds also flow from the EPA to states from the drinking water fund,” Smith said. “The increase in this program will enable the NJDEP to help more local projects aimed at updating and maintaining drinking water infrastructure.”
Residents of all the towns served by TWW and in need of lead pipe replacement, are eligible for TWW’s discounted program to replace their lead service lines at a subsidized cost of $1,000, and about 5,500 homes are slated for upgrades through summer of 2021.
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