NJ requiring schools to post lead testing results online

NEW JERSEY — Lead testing results from New Jersey’s schools will be posted online under new regulations Gov. Phil Murphy has unveiled.

Murphy and fellow Democrat Rep. Josh Gottheimer discussed that and other changes Monday at a news conference in the congressman’s district.

Murphy also says schools will have to test water every three years, not every six. Other changes include public reporting of schools that are out of compliance as well as certain penalties.

The changes come as the state’s biggest city deals with positive tests for lead in drinking water.

A recent report by Gottheimer found about 20 percent of the school districts in his northern New Jersey district don’t report results online.

It also found 46 of the districts had at least one facility with a lead problem.

Murphy said using the state’s resources to incorporate testing and repairing will strengthen “efforts to overcome a statewide challenge that has been building over many decades.”

“Every child deserves to drink water that’s free of lead, and every parent deserves to know if their child’s school has lead in their pipes, sinks, or water fountains. We’re here to announce steps to give parents and communities easy-to-access and up-to-date information on their child’s school’s water. It’s a level of transparency many of us have been calling for, for years now,” said Gottheimer.

The efforts come as parts of New Jersey are in the middle of a lead crisis. In Newark, tests showed chemicals used to prevent lead leaching from pipes into drinking water weren’t effective. Water filters handed out to Newark residents last year, but several homes still tested to have high lead levels. More than 100,000 cases of water bottles have since been distributed.

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