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Water Quality Accountability Act (N.J.S.A. 58:31-1 et seq.)

What is the Water Quality Accountability Act?

The Water Quality Accountability Act, P.L. 2017, c. 133 (WQAA), enacted on July 21, 2017, established new requirements for purveyors of public water to improve the safety, reliability, and administrative oversight of water infrastructure. The WQAA becomes effective on October 19, 2017. The full text of the Act, N.J.S.A. 58:31-1 et seq., can be found here.   

Who does the Water Quality Accountability Act affect?

The Act applies to water purveyors with more than 500 service connections, which is approximately 300 water systems in New Jersey.

What are the new requirements created by the Water Quality Accountability Act?

The Act requires purveyors to create and implement an asset management plan designed to inspect, maintain, repair, and renew its infrastructure consistent with standards established by the American Water Works Association.  In addition, the Act also specifies a methodology for routinely testing valves and fire hydrants. Also, the Act supplements the Safe Drinking Water Act (N.J.S.A. 58:12A- 1 et seq.), by requiring the submittal of a mitigation plan by purveyors that exceed a certain number of violations in a set interval of time.  Purveyors regulated by the Act that have internet connected control systems will also need to create cybersecurity programs and join the NJ Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Cell in order to receive support should a cybersecurity incident occur.

How will the Water Quality Accountability Act be implemented by the NJDEP?

While the Act establishes the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) as having a central role in its implementation, it also identifies several other agencies (New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, and the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs), with essential roles.  Currently, NJDEP is coordinating with these agencies, and will solicit stakeholder input in the near future.  The NJDEP is committed to the successful implementation of the Water Quality Accountability Act, and is working to identify all options for implementation that will improve the reliability, resiliency, and sustainability of NJ’s water utilities, ultimately improving the protection of public health and the environment.

Who can I speak with to learn more about Water Quality Accountability Act?
           
Please direct any questions to watersupply@dep.nj.gov and be sure to include “Water Quality Accountability Act” or “WQAA” in the subject line.

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Last Updated: September 25, 2017