The amount of lead in the drinking water in North Jersey, New Jersey, has fallen to its lowest level in at least 30 years, according to executives of the water utility Suez.
The utility serves about 870,000 residents in Bergen and Hudson counties and has spent $95 million over the past three years digging up and removing approximately 8,000 lead pipes, reported North Jersey News.
According to North Jersey News, it is generally smaller, old service lines about the width of a garden hose that connect the mains to homes and businesses that contain lead. These lines are being replaced with new copper lines.
Lab results revealed that lead levels have fallen to 5.9 parts per billion (ppb), according to the utility.
“This is great news for the nearly 1 million residents and businesses we serve in northern New Jersey,” said Alan Weland, Suez's vice president and general manager, reported North Jersey News. “Our work is not done, however. We will continue to work until we get all the lead out of the system.”
Previously, over the last decade, Suez's lead levels rose steadily. These levels spiked in late 2018 to 18.4 ppb, exceeding the U.S. EPAs safety standard of 15 ppb. 2019 showed samples that contained 15.6 ppb.
More than 20 construction crews were sent to 57 towns in Bergen and Hudson counties to remove 7,700 dangerous lines, reported North Jersey News.
New Jersey has an estimated 350,000 lead service lines, according to the Environmental Defense Fund. The state is slated to receive $1 billion over five years to improve its water infrastructure, reported NJ News.