December 16, 2021


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Newark, NJ-December 16, 2021-Mayor Ras J. Baraka today announced that the City of Newark is supporting the Biden-Harris Lead Pipe and Paint Action Plan legislation being proposed today to remove lead pipes and paint and deliver clean drinking water to communities nationwide.

Under the legislation, 10 federal agencies would be committed to 15 new actions to make rapid progress to replace all lead pipes in American municipalities in the next decade, particularly focusing on homes, schools, child-care centers, and playgrounds. In addition, the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development will award grants to remove lead paints and other home health hazards in low-income communities to protect children and families.

“Newark has worked aggressively to remove all dangerous lead lines from our city,” Mayor Baraka said. “Experts said it would take us a minimum of 10 years to do so. Our city set a goal to have it completed under three, proving that with a collective effort and strategy at the local, county, state and federal level this can be accomplished. Today at the national level, President’s Biden’s investment will assuredly protect and safeguard the lives of present and future generations of Americans, especially older communities like Newark, which suffer from a disproportionate amount of lead pipes, lead paint, and the health issues they create. I commend our President and Vice President Harris on their leadership on this issue and urge the Congress to pass this legislation swiftly.”

The funding will build on $350 billion provided in the American Rescue Plan that states, localities, and Tribes are able to utilize for lead pipes and the replacement of faucets and fixtures inside schools and child-care facilities. In addition to activating these investments, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law delivers the central funding to achieve the President’s bold vision as the Administration will accelerate its efforts leveraging new and existing funds, proposing ambitious regulations, removing obstacles to lead line replacements, and creating targeted efforts to remove lead lines from federally assisted housing and schools and child care centers.

“It was a privilege to join with Vice President Harris at this announcement today and witness the Biden Administration’s commitment on this critical issue. Since we began our lead removal program in 2019, Newark has removed more than 22,000 such lines,” said Water and Sewer Utilities Director Kareem Adeem, “at no cost to property owners, and made $190 million in improvements to our system to monitor, maintain, and enhance its quality.”

Reasons why Newark achieved this are as follows:

  • Under the Baraka administration, Newark made $190 million in improvements to its water system, including upgrades in monitoring technology, filtration and environmental systems and delivery infrastructure, all before they saw their first lead exceedances. This created less obstacles for citywide lead service line replacement.
  • The leadership of Director Adeem, who took over after the sudden death of former Director Andrea Hall Adebowale just as Newark was investigating the reasons for our problem. Director Adeem began with the water department as laborer, literally working his way up from the trenches.
  • Since lead service lines are the property of the homeowner, we had to work with our state legislature that allowed us to use public funds on private property for the purpose of replacing lead service lines.
  • Since 74 percent of Newark residents rent, a City ordinance was passed to allow replacement of lead service lines without the homeowner’s permission because tracking down landlords would have slowed the process and left some homes undone.
  • Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo’s willingness to use the county’s AAA bond rating for the City to comfortably secure a $120 million bond, allowing Newark to accelerate the work in a way that sets national precedents.

A link to the White House fact sheet on the proposed legislation can be found here.


For more information on the City of Newark, please visit our website at

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