Menendez, Booker Announce $18M to Deliver NJans Safe, Clean Drinking Water

Menendez, Booker Announce $18M to Deliver NJans Safe, Clean Drinking Water

   

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker today announced that the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has been awarded $18,780,000 in federal funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the state’s Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, which provides low-cost financing for a wide range of water infrastructure projects, including replacing lead water lines.

“Upgrading our aging water infrastructure is a priority so that we can ensure families in every zip code and every community have access to clean drinking water,” said Sen. Menendez. “As communities across New Jersey face lead contamination challenges, the federal government must step up and do their part to help. I will continue fighting to ensure New Jersey has the resources to upgrade our water infrastructure and hold federal agencies accountable for protecting the health of all those we represent.”

“Access to safe, clean drinking water is a fundamental right that we must protect for our children and families, but cities and states cannot address drinking water challenges alone,” said Sen. Booker. “The Drinking Water State Revolving Fund is an example of federal investment that helps communities in New Jersey across the country repair and upgrade aging drinking water systems. I will continue to fight for additional federal dollars that give states the flexibility they need to make critical repairs.”

“Access to clean drinking water is a right and we must do all that we can to ensure residents across our state have access to safe water,” said Gov. Phil Murphy. “Addressing our aging infrastructure is a top priority of my Administration and we need the federal government to step up and step in as a partner to provide resources to aid our efforts. I applaud our congressional delegation for their work on this issue and holding the federal government accountable in protecting the public health of New Jersey residents.”

The Water Infrastructure Funding Transfer Act, authored by Sen. Booker and cosponsored by Sen. Menendez, would allow states facing public health challenges from lead in drinking water to transfer additional funds from their Clean Water State Revolving Fund to their Drinking Water State Revolving Fund. The bill passed the Senate and House unanimously and is headed to the President’s desk for his signature.

Each year, Sens. Menendez and Booker fight for robust funding for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund and the Clean Water State Revolving Fund, which provides low-cost financing for a wide range of water infrastructure development projects in New Jersey and across the country.  The SRFs have been a focal point in efforts to address the lead crisis in drinking water across the country.  In FY19, the two SRFs were appropriated at nearly a combined $3 billion.

Sens. Menendez and Booker have also ensured drinking water safety in the Water Resources Development Act, which is written, in part, by Sen. Booker and his colleagues on the Environment and Public Works Committee and has recently been reauthorized by the full Senate. The WRDA bill signed into law last fall authorized a significant increase in funding for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund.  The WRDA bill also expands the lead in schools testing program, which was co-authored by Sen. Booker to provide schools with additional assistance to address lead contamination, including the replacement of drinking water fountains.