As part of its statewide work to upgrade water infrastructure, New Jersey American Water has been replacing customer-owned lead and galvanized service lines. Now, the Camden-based company has unveiled a charge to recover some of those costs.
As of Feb. 13, the water utility began implementing its first Lead Service Line Replacement (LSLR) Charge for all water and fire service customers statewide under a new LSLR surcharge mechanism approved by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities in October 2022. New Jersey American Water proposed to NJBPU the rate of $0.01643 per 100 gallons.
For the customer who uses the average amount of 5,520 gallons per month, the surcharge would be $0.91. The surcharge is subject to change, based on future LSLR proposals to NJBPU, American Water said.
The company said the surcharge is to recover $7.3 million associated with the replacement of customer-owned lead and galvanized service lines from July 1, 2020, through Oct. 31, 2022. These projects are part of a statewide initiative to remove these types of service lines by 2031.
“Nobody likes another charge on their bill, but by working with our skilled teams of engineering and operations employees and contractors, leveraging technology, partnering with our communities, and maximizing our national supply chain, we are strategically and systematically working as cost effectively as possible for the benefit of our customers,” New Jersey American Water President Mark McDonough said in a statement.
The company raised water and wastewater rates slightly in September 2022, a move necessitated by its investment of more than $985 million in infrastructure in treatment system and distribution upgrades since its last rate filing, the company said.
New Jersey American Water is working on lead service replacement plans for 2023 and will share more information in the coming weeks with customers, officials and other stakeholders.
American Water regularly provides updates on infrastructure work around the state, including its most recent projects, such as $10 million in upgrades in Monmouth and Union counties.