water glasses

The Jersey City Municipal Utilities Authority has announced the start of its residential lead service line replacement construction program.

Having finished its work reconstructing the drinking water infrastructure within Jersey City’s public school system, JCMUA is now targeting residential infrastructure “based on prevalence of lead, sensitive populations and overburdened communities.”

According to the agency, work has begun on Jewett Avenue, York Street and Randolph Avenue.

The construction is part of the JCMUA’s “Lead Free JC” program which aims to replace all residential lead service lines in the city by 2031. Property owners will have the option of either having their service lines replaced by JCMUA contractors, or hiring their own contractor to replace the lines and then applying for the Authority’s credit program to recoup the costs. 

“The Jersey City MUA is following our successful lead remediation efforts at our schools by proactively removing all residential lead service lines, with an ambitious goal to replace all of the nearly 16,000 lead service lines throughout Jersey City by June 2031,” said Jose Cunha, Executive Director of the JCMUA. 

The agency says that up to 10 million households in the United States have lead pipes and service lines, and there are an estimated 350,000 lead service lines in New Jersey, among the highest of any state.

As part of the JCMUA’s public outreach program, a video has been created detailing the construction process and informing residents about what to expect when their home’s lead service line is replaced. The video is available here.

The JCMUA says that key points for residents to know about the lead service line removal process include: 

  • Service lines are the pipes that connect homes to the water main in the street. The water in the main does not contain lead and the city’s drinking water is safe, however some service lines are made of lead and can create the potential for future lead exposure. These lead service lines will now be replaced by JCMUA. 
  • When JCMUA is ready to start work in a specific area, those residents will receive an agreement package in the mail that contains a Right of Entry Agreement, as well as information about the lead service line removal process. The Right of Entry Agreement must be signed and returned to the MUA before work can begin.
  •  A contractor will schedule a visit to the home to identify where the service line comes into the property.
  • Work will be scheduled and will include the replacement of the existing line. This entails accessing the service line from inside the home and in the street in front of the resident’s home. Disruption inside the home will be minimal, however work will require the water to be shut off for up to eight hours.
  • After replacement, the street will be restored and a post replacement guide will be provided that includes instructions on how to flush pipes, clean faucet aerators, and to collect a sample of drinking water results. A water quality test kit will be provided 3-6 months after the replacement is completed.

All properties with lead service lines will be included in upcoming construction contracts for replacement over the next eight years. JCMUA expects to replace an average of 2,000 lead service lines per year.  A service line inventory has been created based on recent inspections, which residents can use to determine whether their property has a known lead service line.  This information and other helpful details can be found within the newly released video and by visiting leadfreejc.com.

For further information or questions, please contact the JCMUA’s Lead Free Support Center at leadfreejc@jcmua.com or reach a customer service representative by calling (201) 365-6189.

Photo courtesy of Jana Sabeth