What is the Situation with Trenton’s Lead Service Lines?


(Artwork/Elaine Wu ’23)

Maddie Weinstein, Online Staff Writer

After discovering elevated lead levels in the city’s water four years ago, Trenton Water Works has been working to fix its Lead Service Lines (LSLs) that deliver water to homes in Trenton, Hamilton, Ewing, and Lawrenceville. LSLs are water pipes that typically lead from street water mains to residences; they are commonly found in older, more historical areas that have pipes created using lead metal, which over time, has made its way into the water that flows through them. Given that clean drinking water is a basic right and many PDS students also live in these areas, the situation is extremely close to home. Junior Caroline Ewing notes, “This issue is important because we often hear about problems with unclean/unsafe water elsewhere, however, it’s evidently very real locally too. Being aware of this is the first step to helping the problem because clean water is absolutely a necessity for everyone.” Junior Frances Bobbit agrees, “I feel that water is super important, our body is mainly composed of it after all so when things like water advisories happen it freaks me out because it is such an essential part of daily life.”

Though the city of Trenton has been trying to fix this issue since its discovery, they have not been able to meet deadlines of replacing LSLs due to issues mired in funding deficiencies made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic. This resulted in a lawsuit filed by the Environmental Protection Agency last year. Since then with an ongoing lawsuit, Trenton Water Works has still been replacing as many of the LSLs as possible with copper substitutes and plans to replace the estimated 38,000 total lines in the area within the next four years. Recently a 2 trillion dollar plan has been proposed by the government, known as the American Jobs Plan, to help rebuild the country’s infrastructure. This plan includes 45 billion dollars specifically dedicated to fixing lead lines, which would create thousands of jobs and would fix the ongoing lead safety issues. With this plan introduced, hopefully, soon everyone here and all around the country will have access to the clean water they need. 


Sources Cited:

  • Drinking Water Facts: Lead. New Jersey Department of Health, www.state.nj.us/health/ceohs/documents/dw_lead_factsheet.pdf. 
  • “FACT SHEET: The American Jobs Plan.” The White House, The United States Government, 31 Mar. 2021, www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2021/03/31/fact-sheet-the-american-jobs-plan/. 
  • TWW Lead Service Line Replacement Program, www.twwleadprogram.com/. 
  • User, Guest. “ETC Launches the Lead Service Line Replacement Grant Program.”
  •  East Trenton Collaborative, East Trenton Collaborative, 26 Mar. 2021www.east-trenton.org/blog/success-story-open-streets-comes-to-east-trenton-dlhrw.