Clean Water Action’s Statement on Newark’s decision to provide water filters to residents with lead service lines

Friday, October 12, 2018

It is well know that the City of Newark has a problem with lead in their drinking water. Remedies were secured for its public schools. Now the city must address the whole system to protect its residents from lead poisoning. Clean Water Action applauds the City for beginning the process of replacing over 15,000 lead service lines over the next 8 years; but immediate protections are needed for this highly vulnerable community.

According to the City of Newark, a portion of its corrosion control system is “no longer effective”. The NJ Department of Environmental Protection says that while the most common remedy to reduce lead exposure is flushing the faucet for 15-30 seconds that would actually make matters worse. The city is therefore offering tap water filters in the interim “to reduce the risk of exposure during the period that new corrosion control measures are put in place” to homes that have known or suspected lead service lines.

“To get the job done right, distributing free filters to residents is not enough. It has to be coupled not only with correct installation, ongoing public education, funds and confirmation of regular filter replacements,” stated Kim Gaddy, Environmental Justice Organizer, Clean Water Action and Newark resident. “Clean Water Action is keeping its eye on making sure the city’s long term solutions including infrastructure funds achieve both the immediate fixing of the water system’s corrosion program and accelerating the implementation of its lead service line replacement program.”