New Jersey water system upgrades could cost $40 billion

During a gathering overlooking the Delaware River in Trenton

During a gathering overlooking the Delaware River in Trenton

It’s not just lead in New Jersey’s aging water pipes that is causing concern about the state’s water infrastructure.

Bob Briant, with the Utility and Transportation Contractors Association, said it’s imperative that stormwater systems be upgraded. They’re connected to sewage treatment plants. When it rains, Briant said, they can overflow, sending sewage into rivers.

It would cost about $40 billion to make all the needed infrastructure improvements to prevent that from happening, Briant said Thursday during a news conference in Trenton.

“I think this year we’re going to get a little more funds than usual, but this is going to be a long effort. This is going to be an effort that will take some revenue,” he said. “We just don’t have it in the federal general fund to do this.”

Joe McNamara with the Laborers International Union is urging Congress to prioritize investment in water system upgrades.

“So that states and local municipalities can make the improvements that we need at this level to take care of those leaky pipes, to make sure that the sewage overflow is removed from the water system so we stop polluting our rivers and our streams,” he said.

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