Newark Mayor Ras Baraka announced this week that the Newark Lead Service Line Replacement (LSLR) Program had reached its final stage with nearly 15,000 of the city’s over 18,000 lead service lines replaced with safe, copper pipes.

As crews replaced more than 1,000 lead service lines per month, the city’s orthophosphate corrosion control protocol continued to reduce lead levels in homes with lead plumbing. Newark worked with the County of Essex, whose AAA bond rating saved $9.6 million over a city bond issuance. Officials say LSLR cost nothing to taxpayers.

“From the beginning, this hasn’t just been about lead lines, but about securing our community’s health, safety and quality of life—today and into the future,” Baraka said. “I am delighted to share that, barring unforeseen circumstances, Newark will not only remove every last lead service line in our city but well ahead of schedule—perhaps even by the spring.”

Last year, elevated levels of lead were found in some homes and buildings served by the city’s water system. The primary sources of lead exposure are lead-based paint and lead-contaminated dust or soil.

Newark Water and Sewer Utilities director Kareem Adeem added that replacing the service pipes was the only long-term solution to address the high levels of lead in the city’s water.

“The Newark Department of Water and Sewer Utilities can do the work below ground because our partners in the City, County, and State financial areas do their parts,” Adeem said. “Whether it’s implementing cutting edge filtration or scale protocols or AI-assisted water quality management, we can innovate because they do.”