For years, Trenton Water Works has been struggling with water quality issues. But efforts are moving forward to fix old problems.

The utility, which serves Trenton as well as residents in Ewing, Hamilton, Hopewell and Lawrence, has just kicked off a major service line replacement program designed to make the water safer.

Trenton Mayor Reed Gusciora said over the next five years, TWW will replace more than 37,000 lead service lines within its system, at a cost of more than $150 million, to ensure lead does not get into drinking water supplies.

“It’s in the pipes — it’s not the water itself — and some pipes leach," he said about lead. "Nonetheless, we’re under the 15 parts per billion standard.”

He said last month TWW began adding federally approved zinc orthophosphate into its water-treatment process to coat pipes and prevent lead particles from leaching into the water, even though there have been no high levels of lead detected since 2018.

TWW is covering the cost of replacing all of the major service lines but residents will be charged to have the pipes that run from the service line into their home if they want them replaced.

The utility will charge homeowners a flat fee of $1,000. The actual cost of replacement is estimated to be between $2,000 and $5,000.

He said the project is beginning in Hamilton and Lawrence. The the pipes in Trenton and Ewing will be replaced.

He said no service lines in Hopewell are being replaced because all their pipes are relatively new and do not pose a lead threat.

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Gusciora said to get more information, people can visit the Trenton website.

One the same day TWW began its lead service line replacement project, Gov. Phil Murphy signed legislation that will explicitly allow municipalities to adopt an ordinance to enter properties to perform lead service line replacements after providing notice to residents.

He explained the bill aims to allow for an expedited and timely lead service line replacement process.

“As municipalities around our state replace lead service lines, we must ensure that they have timely access to properties. This law equips cities and towns with a crucial tool in combating this issue,” he said

You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com