The following was issued as a Jersey Water Works press release. Learn more about the JWW Lead in Drinking Water Task Force.

Jersey Water Works has convened a 25-member task force to develop practical and effective policies for eliminating lead in New Jersey’s drinking water. The task force includes representatives from publicly- and privately- owned water utilities, advocacy organizations working in environmental justice and community development, academic and technical experts, public health organizations, and all levels of government. Chris Daggett, the former commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and former regional administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, will chair the group. (See the full list of task force members below.)

“New Jersey has 11 cities that have a higher proportion of lead-affected children than Flint, Michigan, and an estimated 350,000 homes and small businesses — the fifth highest of any state — that have lead lines coming into their buildings,” said Kiki Jameson, president of The Fund for New Jersey, which is providing financial support for the initiative. “The presence of lead in drinking water is a pervasive and urgent problem, and at the same time entirely preventable, and we look forward to seeing this group’s recommendations for the best ways to remediate it.”

“The diversity of expertise on this task force will be key to coming up with practical and effective recommendations,” said Daggett. “Our experience with Jersey Water Works has proven that a problem this complex is too difficult for any one organization to solve. It requires focused attention from across the technical and policy spectrum. I’m pleased we have been able to put together such a broad, committed and knowledgeable group.”

“The majority of municipalities identified in a 2015 report as having the highest percentage of new elevated blood level cases were urban communities,” pointed out task force member Monique Griffith, the director of health from Irvington Township. “This means lead poisoning, which is particularly harmful to young children, disproportionately affects children of color in our state. It is not just a public health crisis, but an environmental-justice crisis,” she continued, “which, for the sake of our children’s future, we must address immediately, and I’m looking forward to getting to work.”

The task force’s kickoff meeting took place in December 2018. The group will conclude its work in September 2019 with the release of a report that will highlight best practices from around the country, put forward a set of policy recommendations that are appropriate, actionable, efficient and coordinated, and lay out planned actions and commitments from key stakeholders.

The task force is part of the Jersey Water Works collaborative, which brings together a broad cross-section of organizations focused on improving water infrastructure. Staff support will be provided by New Jersey Future, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that promotes sensible growth, redevelopment and infrastructure investments in the state, and that facilitates the Jersey Water Works collaborative.

Lead in Drinking Water Task Force members

  • Christopher Daggett, Chairman,
    former Commissioner, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection,
    former Regional Administrator, United States Environmental Protection Agency Region 2

Federal, State and Local Government

  • Christine Ash, Chief, Drinking Water and Groundwater Protection, United States Environmental Protection Agency Region 2
  • Olumuyiwa Falajiki, Supervisor of Certification, Lead Abatement Unit, New Jersey Department of Community Affairs
  • Patricia Gardner, Director, Division of Water Supply and Geoscience, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
  • Michael Kammer, Bureau Chief, Division of Water, New Jersey Board of Public Utilities
  • Joe Myers, Committeeman, City of Bordentown, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Coopers Ferry Partnership
  • Joseph Pargola, Assistant Director, Office of Policy and Regulatory Development, New Jersey Department of Children and Families
  • Shereen Semple, Director, Office of Local Public Health, New Jersey Department of Health

Utilities

  • Joseph Bella, Executive Director, Passaic Valley Water Commission
  • Michael Furrey, Owner, Agra Environmental and Laboratory Services
  • Shing-Fu Hsueh, Director, Trenton Water Works, City of Trenton
  • Andy Kricun*, Executive Director, Camden County Municipal Utilities Authority
  • Tom Shroba*, Vice President of Operations, New Jersey American Water

Advocacy Organizations

  • Staci Berger, President and Chief Executive Officer, Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey
  • Laureen Boles, Director, New Jersey Environmental Justice Alliance
  • Peter Chen, Policy Counsel, Association for Children of New Jersey
  • Jane Cohen, Director of Environmental Health Policy, Isles
  • Amy Goldsmith, State Director, Clean Water Action
  • Cate Klinger, Senior Technical Advisor, Green and Healthy Homes Initiative
  • Doug O’Malley, Executive Director, Environment New Jersey
  • Chris Sturm, Managing Director, Policy and Water, New Jersey Future

Public Health

  • Monique Griffith, Director of Health, Township of Irvington

Academic/Scientific Experts

  • Kristi MacDonald, Director of Science, Raritan Headwaters
  • Robert Tucker, Scientist (retired), New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
  • Dan Van Abs*, Associate Professor of Practice for Water, Society & Environment, Rutgers University

Other

  • Lucy Vandenberg, Senior Program Officer, Fund for New Jersey

*Member of the Jersey Water Works Steering Committee

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