New Jersey lawmakers want the state’s nearly 300 water utilities to provide more information about water quality and be held accountable for the data they publish.

State legislators conducted a hearing Tuesday amid an ongoing public-health crisis in Newark, where recent tests showed elevated lead levels in the drinking water of two homes.

Sen. Troy Singleton, D-Burlington, said it was crucial that the public has access to information about local water quality.

Newark officials have begun handing out bottled water at various locations across the city after tests showed high lead levels in the drinking water.

Tests in two of three Newark homes showed elevated lead levels, even though those homes were using water filters, meant to reduce contamination, that were distributed by the city.

“Access to safe drinking water is critically important to our administrations, and we take health risks associated with lead in drinking water very seriously,” Gov. Phil Murphy and Mayor Ras Baraka said in a joint statement this weekend.

21 NJ School Districts Report Lead In Water

Jan 26, 2017
Department of Education officials testify at legislative task force hearing
Phil Gregory

New Jersey schools have another six months to comply with a state directive to test their drinking water for lead contamination.

The New Jersey Department of Education says about half of its 586 school districts have completed their testing and 21 have reported elevated lead levels.

Project Manager Jim Palmer says the schools have to shut off contaminated fountains and sinks and come up with a long-term solution to resolve the lead problem.

Sprinkler Sensor May Be Needed To Sell Property

Jan 20, 2017
Assemblyman John McKeon
Phil Gregory

Legislation being considered by New Jersey lawmakers would require residential and commercial properties with a lawn-sprinkler system to install a rain-sensing device before that property could be sold.

Assemblyman John McKeon says it's abhorrent to see sprinklers going off in a rainstorm.

"As water continues to become more precious and scarce, per gallon it's a lot more expensive to waste it, so whatever initial cost there might be for sensors it'll be easily recouped in a very short time."