Newark responds to lead in drinking water

AmNews Staff Reports | 8/15/2019, 12:22 p.m.
Follow-up test results provided on Aug. 9, 2019, have shown that a small sample of water filters (2 of 3) ...
Tap water CNN photo

Follow-up test results provided on Aug. 9, 2019, have shown that a small sample of water filters (2 of 3) provided to the city of Newark may not be removing lead to the low levels expected by city, state and federal officials. At this time, Newark officials said in a statement that they are aware of only two residences where water filters are not working as expected. Out of an abundance of caution, the city is notifying residents that some filters may not be working as expected. Newark will continue to test filters and filtered water to assess why the water filters in those two homes were not working as expected.

Until this additional testing is completed, residents in the Pequannock service area who have lead service lines are advised to use bottled water for drinking, cooking and preparing baby formula. Bottled water will be provided by the city and state. Families in the Pequannock service area with lead services lines who have received filters can pick up water after 3 p.m. at the following locations: 

The City of Newark Department of

Health and Wellness

110 William Street

“Bo” Porter Sports Complex

378 Lyons Avenue

Boylan Street Recreation Center

916 South Orange Avenue

Vince Lombardi Center

201 Bloomfield Avenue

In addition, the city strongly encourages residents to run their water—which includes showering, flushing toilets and washing dishes—in order to help coat the pipes and allow the new corrosion control treatment to continue optimizing.

Further decisions will be made about the best course of action as soon as the city receives additional testing results back. Newark is working closely with the governor’s office, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and the water filter manufacturer.

As has been previously reported, water testing in Newark indicated elevated levels of lead in single and multi-family homes with decades-old lead service lines or plumbing containing lead. Elevated levels are due to the releasing of lead from plumbing and lead service lines on private property between the street and approximately 15,000 homes. 

Since October 2018, the city of Newark has taken steps to immediately address elevated levels of lead in the water, including the following:

  1. Distributed over 38,000 lead-safe water filters and cartridges to impacted residents free-of-charge through distribution centers located throughout the city and door-to-door canvassing. Distribution efforts continue throughout the city;
  2. Offered and continuing to offer free water testing to impacted residents;
  3. Offered and continuing to offer free blood testing to children under the age of 6;
  4. Developed and rolled out a groundbreaking program to replace residential lead service lines with state of New Jersey’s support, replacing over 700 lead service lines since March; and
  5. As of May 7, 2019, installed and began operating a new temporary corrosion control treatment system to replace the one that is no longer effective. Experts expect to see a reduction in lead levels by the end of the year.

There are additional steps residents can take to reduce the risks of lead in water: