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New Jersey To Get Water Infrastructure Upgrades

While California has funded its own water infrastructure upgrades, New Jersey has been awarded 84.5 million dollars by the EPA to improve public health and the environment. The EPA states that “the funds will primarily be used to upgrade wastewater and drinking water systems throughout the state.”

“Working with our state and local partners to ensure our communities have affordable access to clean drinking water remains a critical priority for EPA, said EPA Regional Administrator Pete Lopez. “We are pleased to provide significant funding as part of our overall efforts to help New Jersey meet its critical water infrastructure needs.”

Not to worry, the state has to match 20 percent of the funds with their own cash. And, they have to match repayments from prior CWSRF and DWSRF loans along with bond issuances and interest earnings. This will ensure there are over $450 million of clean water and drinking water infrastructure projects in New Jersey.

As if that wasn’t good enough news, this initiative also has the potential to create about 7,000 jobs making for a great advantage to the New Jersey economy. The question remains, however, is New Jersey ready for this move towards water infrastructure enhancements.

In addition to the EPA funding, New Jersey’s aging canals may get a boost from a bill being proposed by Senator Bob Smith to impose a fee on water use that will be used to fund the rebuilding. The bill aims to “fix leaking water mains, replace lead service lines, acquire watershed land and wetlands, and supply drinking water to areas whose supplies are contaminated,” says NJSpotlight.com.

The proposal would raise $150 million a year from a $.40 tax per 1,000 gallons of water used, but faces many hurdles. It has been in the making for decades and many do not see the need for it. However, considering it is estimated that $8 billion dollars is needed to repair the water infrastructure in New Jersey, constituents may need to be a little more relenting.

Sources:
https://www.epa.gov/newsreleases/epa-provides-new-jersey-845-million-water-infrastructure-improvements
http://www.njspotlight.com/stories/18/07/08/are-you-ready-to-spend-billions-to-upgrade-njs-aging-water-infrastructure/