Newark residents to get water filters to combat lead contamination

Posted: Updated:

Newark residents who likely have lead-tainted water will be given water filters.

The city conducted a study that showed that the way they were treating the problem was not working.

Environmental group The Natural Resources Defense Council has been saying for months that the city has dangerously high levels of lead in the drinking water. The group even filed a lawsuit against the city as a result.

Mayor Ras Baraka says that the lead is getting into the system due to bad water pipes.

The city is giving out about 40,000 water filters – 20,000 donated and another 20,000 bought by the city.

RELATED: Group in Newark water lawsuit seeks to force city action
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Officials say they are starting with families with pregnant women, families with children and senior citizens. Baraka says giving out the filters will take a few weeks. He says that property owners will still be required to replace the lead water pipes.

The state and federal government will be expected to help. It may cost about $75 million to replace all the pipes.

“We’ve had another issue around the school system.  In fact, Newark was the first school district that alerted the state of New Jersey that these last service lines were a problem and the lead solder in the pipes were a problem,” Baraka said. “We began with Newark Public Schools because of that.  Many cities around the state have also discovered that they also have these issues."

The Natural Resources Defense Council says that community groups have been warning about the issue for more than a year -- and that residents had been told the water is safe.

The city will start giving out the water filters Saturday. More information can be found at the city’s website.

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