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An Update on New Jersey Opinions on the State of Our Water Systems, the Environment, and Infrastructure

Jersey Water Works and New Jersey Future today released the results of a survey of 1,176 New Jersey residents that indicate that residents continue to believe that securing clean, safe drinking water should be the top environmental priority for the governor and Legislature.

The survey, an abridged follow up to one conducted in 2017, shows that concern about lead in drinking water has remained steady with over three-quarters of the respondents indicating that removing lead from water is a top priority. Fully 90 percent respondents said investing in repairing pipes and infrastructure is a “top” or “important” priority. Additionally, residents continue to worry about the quality of their drinking water, and over a third indicated that they prefer to drink bottled water over the water from their faucets.

Federal Funding Sign On Letter to the New Jersey Congressional Delegation

The members Jersey Water Works drafted a letter to New Jersey’s congressional delegation. Sent on January 27, the 56 signatories called on them to support critical investments in our state’s water infrastructure. New Jersey’s communities continue to confront issues including aging infrastructure, lead in drinking water, combined sewer overflows, and polluted waterways. With the added burden of the COVID-19 economy, the funds needed for these infrastructure investments exceeds the resources available to local and state governments, making a federal infrastructure investment essential. The letter details five steps the federal government can take to ensure safe, clean drinking water for every New Jerseyan.

Jersey Water Works Comments on the Long Term Control Plans

Jersey Water Works recognizes the immense efforts devoted to creating and implementing the CSO permits by the NJDEP within a five year timeline. Jersey Water Works also recognizes the time and efforts that each permit holder has put in place to the development of the Long Term Control Plan. We understand that these plans will require significant investment to reduce the combined sewer overflows that plague our most vulnerable communities. Some of the comments pertain to all plans and others to specific plans. They also pertain to both the SIARs and considerations for future CSO permit conditions. The intent of the comments is to ultimately ensure that the plans, with their technical feats and considerable investment, are equitable for the communities that they are meant to benefit. The four Jersey Water Works committees (CSO, Green Infrastructure, Asset Management & Finance, and Education & Outreach) respectfully submitted the following comments on the Long Term Control Plans.

NJ Water Workforce Training Program Inventory

Water is a natural resource, but to manage it, protect it, and use it for drinking water requires millions of workers. These essential workers design, construct, and operate water infrastructure. The water sector offers a number of employment opportunities that often need specific qualifications or licensing. The New Jersey Water Workforce Training Program Inventory is a compilation of information prepared by the Jersey Water Works CSO Committee and was published in December 2020.  The inventory highlights training programs in the water sector. Many of the training providers on the list are organizations and unions in New Jersey that focus on construction, engineering, green infrastructure, and related trades.

Wells of Opportunity: Training Residents and Prioritizing Local Hiring for Water Infrastructure Projects in Newark

In the face of generational demands for water infrastructure investment, along with relatively high levels of unemployment, the City of Newark has instituted training programs to help bolster its water workforce. This report, produced by the Jersey Water Works CSO Committee, features two sections:

1) Newark’s Lead Service Line Apprenticeship Program: This describes the special apprenticeship program that was created to supply qualified residents for Newark’s fast-moving lead service line replacement program.

2) Newark’s Green Infrastructure Training Programs: This describes two programs, Ironbound Community Corporation Green Infrastructure Training Program and Newark Green Works, which were created partly in anticipation of the city’s combined sewer overflow (CSO) Long Term Control Plan (LTCP). The LTCP is expected to feature green infrastructure projects and will begin implementation in 2021.These programs can serve as models for other cities throughout New Jersey, and even the nation, that also seek to benefit from both training and prioritizing their local workforce to tackle water infrastructure challenges.

 

Wells of Opportunity: Training Residents and Prioritizing Local Hiring for Water Infrastructure Projects in Newark

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