On Wednesday, Nov. 20, U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) praised the State of New Jersey’s new database website unveiled online that provides parents and communities with easy-to-access and up-to-date information on dangerous lead water in their children’s schools.
Since 2017, Gottheimer has been calling on the State of New Jersey to create a centralized reporting website and to enforce its school lead testing requirements, sounding the alarm on lead water in New Jersey schools and the health and safety impacts of lead exposure to New Jersey children, including letters to the state in October 2018, February 2019, and again in June 2019.
“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,” said Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5). “Starting today, parents and communities will have 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 on for years now.”
This past October, Gottheimer called for school districts: 1) to immediately test for lead if they have not already done so; 2) for school districts to make all test results widely available in an easy-to-find place on their websites, in plain speak, so that all New Jersey parents have access to this critical information; for school districts to follow up the following year and post steps taken to remediate; 3) for schools to be required to test their water for lead, and disclose findings, more frequently than the current requirement of once every six years; 4) for New Jersey, and all states, to create an easy-to-access central database that schools report into every year with lead water results for parents; and 5) for the State of New Jersey to strictly enforce the law that is already on the books.
In Congress, a key piece of Gottheimer’s bipartisan Lead-Free Schools Act was enacted into law last year, creating a targeted pilot program with existing resources to improve drinking water infrastructure in schools nationwide with lead in their water.
Gottheimer is currently working on new federal legislation to funding to New Jersey to help schools identify and replace all lead pipes — and to promote transparency by making the results accessible to families online.