NEWARK, NJ - State Senator M. Teresa Ruiz introduced legislation on Thursday that would let municipalities across New Jersey adopt ordinances allowing local governments to change lead service lines without a property owners permission.
The state legislation mirrors that of a measure making its way through Newark’s City Council that would allow local government officials to enter homes serviced by lead lines and replace them if property owners impacted by the city’s water crisis are unresponsive.
Officials say the measure is aimed at the renters in the city, whose property owners either don’t live on-site or could be difficult to contact.
Newark may pass and authorize its own legislation without having to wait for the state to work its way through the bill. Ruiz’s legislation acts as a way for the state to handle any legal pushback on the city’s bill, or that of other municipalities, once it makes its way through the state legislative process.
“Working collaboratively with the mayor of Newark on this endeavor, we felt this was an important step in ensuring municipalities are able to replace lead service lines,” Ruiz said in a statement.
Ruiz’s bill allows municipalities around the state to adopt ordinances similar to Newark, which would allow officials to enter residential properties and replace lead service lines after giving residents 24 hours notice before entering a property.
Newark’s bill gives the city temporary authority to enter a residence only for the purpose of replacing a lead service line. The city must first get permission from a court before entering a residence for solely the purpose of replacing a lead line.