August 11, 2019

Joint Statement from Governor Murphy and Mayor Ras Baraka on Lead Free Water Filters in Newark

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Access to safe drinking water is critically important to our administrations and we take health risks associated with lead in drinking water very seriously. Recent testing by the City of Newark of water samples taken from three Newark homes, using City-issued water filters, found elevated lead levels in filtered water in two of the homes. In coordination with the City of Newark, Mayor Baraka and I are prepared to do everything the City needs, including making bottled water available to local residents. The City of Newark is currently expanding testing of filtered drinking water to more Newark homes and, in coordination with the Department of Environmental Protection, is actively working with the filter manufacturer to determine the scope of the situation and identify required corrective action as soon as possible.

As we carefully evaluate our options and the data available to us, it is important to understand that the City and State will need support and assistance from the federal government if bottled water is to be provided and distributed to impacted residents.

It is also important to understand that long-term distribution of bottled water has potential to impact the City’s new corrosion control treatment that was launched in May. Experts expect to see a reduction of lead levels by the end of this year after the corrosion control optimizes. As part of the City's initial filter testing, the engineers saw positive signs that the orthophosphate is in the distribution system, and we are optimistic that the orthophosphate will eventually provide the protective coating necessary to prevent leaching from lead pipes. But to continue these trends, residents must continue to keep city water flowing through their pipes because this is necessary to move the orthophosphate through the system and form a protective coating around the inner lining of the pipes.

Families in the Pequannock service area with lead services lines who have received filters can pick up water 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

Bottled water will be available while we continue to conduct extensive testing and sample and analyze the data.  We will keep residents informed of any further updates and progress.