ISELIN, N.J., Feb. 14, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Middlesex Water Company (NASDAQ:MSEX) is joining in a statewide lead service line replacement initiative aimed at reducing lead exposure to New Jersey residents.
In July 2021, Governor Phil Murphy signed legislation requiring all New Jersey water utilities to take an inventory of, and ultimately replace, all water services lines that are either partially or fully constructed of lead piping, including lead and galvanized steel service lines. Exposure to high levels of lead is a serious health risk. Lead builds up in the body over many years and can cause damage to the brain, red blood cells, and kidneys. The greatest risk is to young children, pregnant women, and unborn babies.
Middlesex Water Company (MWC) plans to replace all lead and galvanized steel service lines with copper service lines by 2031, on both the portion owned and maintained by the utility and the portion owned by the property owner, all at no direct cost to the property owner.
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), the most common sources of lead in drinking water are lead service lines, lead solder on older copper plumbing and faucets and fixtures with some lead content. A service line is the pipe that brings water from the company-owned water main in the street to the plumbing in the home. In the MWC service area, the service line includes a portion that is owned and maintained by the utility (from the street to the curb or edge of pavement) as well as a portion that is owned and maintained by the property owner (from curb or edge of pavement to house). The only permanent and 100% effective solution is a full replacement of both portions of the lead service lines, according to the USEPA, which estimates that replacement cost at roughly $4,700 per line.
“Taking steps to protect our customers from lead exposure is not new,” said Middlesex Water President and CEO Dennis W. Doll. “The Company replaced substantially all of its known lead service lines more than 30 years ago. As part of our water treatment process, we utilize pH control and add corrosion control at our water treatment plant which further helps minimize the amount of lead from household plumbing which could dissolve into the water. We also regularly sample for lead in compliance with state and federal regulations and have never exceeded the action levels set by the Lead and Copper Rule established under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act. The lead service line replacement program will help to further ensure public health and quality of life,” added Doll.
Under its Lead Service Line Replacement Program, MWC has compiled information on known and suspected lead service line material on both the customer’s side and the utility’s side, and submitted that inventory map to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) in late January 2022. This information is also available on the Company’s website where customers can review their service line material recorded in MWC’s inventory. As per legislative requirements, letters are being sent via certified mail to those MWC customers with known service lines containing lead or galvanized steel.
Because property owners own a portion of the water service line, the Company may not have complete information on what those service lines are composed of. We will be developing educational materials and a survey to guide those property owners on how to self-report to the Company the composition of their service line. This material and other lead education, including frequently asked questions, will be available at https://www.middlesexwater.com/customer-care/get-the-lead-out/.
“Addressing lead on the customer-owned portion of the service line is a shared responsibility,” added Doll. “We’re seeking customers’ help in identifying the material of the water service line owned by them and located on their property, so if it is determined to be lead, the Company can schedule that line for eventual replacement, again, at no direct cost to the customer,” added Doll. Data collected will help to inform an initial lead service line replacement plan to be sent to the NJDEP by July 2022.
Over the next ten years, Middlesex will be working on a neighborhood by neighborhood basis to replace lead service lines, factoring in planned construction activities and prioritizing geographic areas based on the most vulnerable and areas that serve a large number of at-risk individuals.
ABOUT MIDDLESEX WATER COMPANY
Established in 1897, Middlesex Water Company serves as a trusted provider offering life-sustaining high quality water service for residential, commercial, industrial and fire protection purposes. The Company offers a full range of water, wastewater utility and related services. An investor-owned public utility, Middlesex Water is a professional services provider specializing in municipal and industrial contract operations and water and wastewater system technical operations and maintenance. The company and its subsidiaries form the Middlesex Water family of companies, which collectively serve a population of nearly half a million people in New Jersey and Delaware. Middlesex is focused on meeting the needs of our employees, customers, and shareholders. We invest in our people, our infrastructure and the communities we serve to support reliable and resilient utility services, economic growth and quality of life. To learn more about Middlesex Water, visit https://www.middlesexwater.com.
This press release contains “forward‐looking statements” within the meaning of U.S. federal securities laws reflecting the current beliefs or expectations of Middlesex Water Company “MSEX” or the “Company” regarding its future performance, its financial condition, its strategic plans and cash flows, its results of operations as well as any other statements that do not directly relate to any historical or current facts. These statements reflect the Company’s current views and information currently available. This information is based on estimates, assumptions and analysis that the Company believes, as of the date hereof, provide a reasonable basis for the information contained herein. Forward‐looking statements can generally be identified by the use of forward‐looking words such as “outlook,” “believes,” “expects,” “potential,” “continues,” “may,” “will,” “should,” “seeks,” “approximately,” “predicts,” “intends,” “plans,” “estimates,” “anticipates,” “foresees.” Actual results, performance or achievements may differ materially from forward‐looking statements, and the assumptions on which forward-looking statements are based. There can be no assurance that the information contained herein is reflective of future performance, and investors are cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward‐looking statements as a predictor of future performance. Unless otherwise specified, all information contained in this press release speaks only as of the date hereof. The Company undertakes no duty to update or revise the information contained herein, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
Bernadette Sohler, Vice President – Corporate Affairs
Middlesex Water Company