The news comes as the city fights a federal lawsuit by an international water group.
Newark will distribute free water filters to residents most at-risk of lead contamination after a study found part of the city's water treatment program "no longer effective." The news comes as the city fights a federal lawsuit by an international water group that for months has flagged high lead levels in the tap water and claimed Newark is not properly treating its water. Newark has reported elevated levels of lead in its tap water for three consecutive six-month periods beginning last year, according to state data.
Lead is measured in parts per billion.
Although no amount of lead in water is safe, lead levels should not exceed the federal action level of 15 parts per billion.
One sampled site in June had 182 parts per billion -- about 12 times acceptable lead levels. During a Friday press conference, city officials will announce their plan to hand out free, lead-certified water filters door-to-door to affected residents. Residents who have or are suspected to have lead service lines -- the pipes that connect the water mains to each property -- are eligible for a filter, the city said. There are at least 15,000 properties with lead services lines, records show. Search if your property is affected below: Loading...
City officials said residents and businesses without lead service lines do not need to be concerned with lead in the tap water. But representatives with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), which sued Newark over its "dangerously" high levels of lead on behalf of local residents in June, said lead can still get in drinking water even if a home does not have a lead service line. "Because the city now admits that the corrosion control plan isn't working, that means that lead can leach from anything in the plumbing system," said Erik D.
Olsen, drinking water expert for NRDC.
"The water is corrosive." Lead contamination can occur when lead from pipes, faucets, fixtures or lead solder dissolve into the drinking water.
If water is corrosive and not properly treated, it is more likely to cause lead from lead service lines or other plumbing to leach into the water. Newark officials for months defended the city's water treatment program and said it was conducting a corrosion control study.
City officials received the results of the study last week, which found the corrosion treatment used in a part of the water system was no longer effective.
The study recommended new corrosion control measures. Olsen said the city's decision to distribute filters is a good step forward but the nonprofit remains concerns about who will enforce the program and ensure filters are properly installed and maintained. Last month, the NRDC asked a judge for an emergency order mandating door-to-door water deliveries or water filters for families with children under the age of six, pregnant or nursing women, homes with lead services lines or homes that tested above a certain threshold for lead in the water. "They are gradually moving towards realizing that they've got a problem," Olsen said. Friday's press conference will be held at 11 a.m.
at 920 Broad Street.
Read more: Residents are exposed to lead.
They should get free bottled water, group tells judge.
Pipes in N.J.
city were installed in the 1880s.
There's lead in them, and it's a problem.
The group that sued Flint, Mich.
over lead water is about to do the same thing in Jersey Getting lead out of Newark's tap water? That'll take $60M, and 8 years Karen Yi may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Follow her on Twitter at @karen_yi or on Facebook.
ProviderNJ.com, Newark, New Jersey, United States