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Trenton Water Works Launches Its Lead Service Line Replacement Program

Trenton Mayor W. Reed Gusciora on Jan. 9 kicked off the Trenton Water Works $150-million Lead Service Line Replacement Program at the home of Jeffrey and Jane Rosenbaum in West Trenton’s Berkeley Square neighborhood. Members of City Council, as well as Steven J. Picco, acting director of the Department of Water and Sewer, joined Mayor Gusciora for this important event.

TWW’s Lead Service Line Replacement Program is part of a $405-million, six-year, capital plan involving several projects, including upgrades to the water-filtration plant and water-distribution system, decentralized water storage, in-house engineering, control technology, improved security, facilities upgrades, and heavy equipment and fleet-vehicle replacements.

"Our deep commitment to protecting our customers and service-area consumers from lead in drinking water is genuine and comprehensive," said Mayor Gusciora, who has prioritized reorganizing Trenton Water Works since taking office. "Our plan is to remove all lead services from TWW's system within five years, in addition to making significant upgrades to TWW’s water-filtration plant, water-distribution system and facilities."

Lead and galvanized steel service lines (also called lead services) are sources of lead contamination in residential drinking water, in addition to household plumbing fixtures manufactured before 1986. Congress then passed amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act that banned lead for use in plumbing fixtures and pipes. The majority of the housing stock in TWW’s service area was built before the ban.

According to the American Water Works Association, a global organization dedicated to managing and treating water, the United States has approximately 6 million lead services. The 1991 Lead and Copper Rule (LCR), a federal regulation overseen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, limits the concentration of lead and copper allowed in public drinking water at the consumer’s tap, directs the removal of lead services from water systems, and mandates corrosion control.

TWW implemented its corrosion-control project on December 3, 2019, introducing federally approved zinc orthophosphate into its water-treatment process to coat pipes and prevent lead particles from leaching into the drinking water. The lead and copper rule is a bipartisan federal response to a national health issue. Over the years, it has provided the guidance and framework for water systems to respond when lead becomes a local issue.

“With the introduction of the zinc orthophosphate and the initiation of the Lead Service Line Replacement Program, TWW has embarked on its commitment to remove all lead lines in the system within the next five years,” said Picco. The City of Trenton’s Department of Water and Sewer operates the 200-year-old Trenton Water Works.

While TWW estimates that it has more than 37,000 lead services in its system, survey teams are conducting ongoing assessments of the water utility's five-municipality service area to get a more accurate inventory count, which is expected to be lower than 37,000. TWW has 63,000 metered customers and serves more than 200,000 residents in the City of Trenton, parts of Hamilton and Lawrence Townships, and Ewing and Hopewell Townships. Hopewell Township has no lead services because the housing stock that TWW serves is newer.

Two contract vendors for TWW are in the pre-construction phase, making contact with homeowners who have registered for lead-service-line replacements in 2018. Here is the replacement schedule, which will be updated regularly and made available at trentonwaterworks.org: All lead service replacements will begin in December and ramp up as follows: Lawrence and Hamilton Townships in January 2020 and Trenton and Ewing Township in February. Replacements for residents who signed up for the program before November 15, 2019 will be done in 2020. Replacements for residents who signed up after that date will be done in 2021. Contractors will phone registered homeowners in advance to schedule appointments and complete the necessary paperwork, including a "Right of Entry" form that gives the contractor access to each home and water meter, which will be replaced as part of the installation of the new copper service lines.

TWW established an Office of Communications and Community Relations in the second half of 2019 that is responsible for taking calls from residents regarding its various activities.
“We encourage residents to phone us if they have questions about our Lead Service Line Replacement Program,” said Michael Walker, TWW’s chief of communications. The Lead Service Line Replacement Program hotline is (609) 989-3600.

Trenton Water Works is among the largest publicly owned, urban water utilities in the United States. It supplies an average of 27 million gallons of Delaware River-sourced drinking water per day to 63,000 metered customers. It services more than 200,000 people in Trenton, parts of Hamilton Township, Ewing Township, Lawrence Township and Hopewell Township in Mercer County, New Jersey. Established more than 200 years ago, TWW operates a 60-million-gallon water-filtration plant and water-distribution system that includes a 100-million-gallon reservoir. TWW’s system has 683 miles of water mains varying in size from 4 to 48 inches in diameter, three pump stations, and six interconnections between TWW and other water suppliers.




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