Have Questions About Newark Water? City Hosting Town Hall Oct. 2 – Daily Voice

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka will host a town hall for residents to discuss the latest updates on the citys lead water crisis, including the $132 million plan to replace 18,000 old lead pipes pumping water to homes.

The state of water town hall will take place Oct. 2 at 6 p.m. at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center and include a panel of speakers who have not yet been announced.

About 14,000 Newark households have relied on bottled water for more than a month after samples at three homes questioned the effectiveness of nationally-certified filters to remove lead from the drinking supply. City and state officials, together with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, have been sampling an additional 225 homes but its unclear when results will be made public.

Baraka told News12 last Friday that additional testing had wrapped up and that results could be released as soon as this week. A city spokeswoman said she had no additional information Tuesday.

The EPA, which asked the city to begin distributing bottled water last month, told NJ Advance Media on Tuesday that testing was continuing.

The sampling and analyses are ongoing, and the results will be made available after the analyses are completed, a spokesman said.

The state Department of Environmental Protection did not respond to questions regarding the status of sampling on Tuesday.

In a TV appearance on Fox Wednesday morning, Baraka said he was very optimistic when the tests come back that the filters will be OK.

Newark officials are now distributing four cases of water to eligible families who are serviced by the Pequannock treatment plant in the South and West wards and parts of the North and Central wards. Only residents in this area are directly impacted by lead levels that spiked in 2017 because the treatment meant to protect old pipes from leaching lead into the water failed to work.

Residents in the eastern side of the city, served by the Wanaque treatment plant, are not eligible for bottled water but city officials said theyre not turning anyone away who comes to collect bottled water at four distribution centers. More than 70,000 cases of bottled water have already been distributed.

To fix the problem, the city is pumping a new chemical mix that will protect old lead pipes from flaking into the water. The new treatment began in May and will take a few months to be fully effective. Newark is also embarking on a long-term solution to rip out all lead pipes across the city and replace them with copper lines to eliminate the source of lead.

Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo Jr. is giving the city a $120 million loan and the state has given Newark $12 million. More than 800 lead service lines have been replaced and the rest are expected to be complete within three years.

Residents of Bloomfield, Nutley and Belleville also buy Newarks water and DiVincenzo said he would extend a similar bond program to those towns, too.

Residents who want to attend the free town hall can call 973-558-7027 or email truvillionm@ci.newark.nj.us for tickets.

Karen Yi may be reached at kyi@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter at @karen_yi or on Facebook.

New Jersey can tap up to $100 million in federal funds to help Newark fix the citys problems with elevated levels of lead in drinking water under new legislation approved by Congress.

The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously approved the legislation late Tuesday that allows states to access federal funds for projects to remove lead from drinking water. The bill, which was previously approved by the U.S. Senate, now heads to President Trumps desk.


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