Gov. Murphy on Newark water crisis: 'We have the capabilities at the moment'

Posted: Updated:

Gov. Phil Murphy is resisting calls to declare a state of emergency over Newark's continuing water crisis.

Thousands of residents in the city have been told not to drink from their taps and are relying on bottled water.

Lead tests are continuing at homes in Newark over the next few weeks, but the governor says the state is handling the situation.

"We're not declaring a state of emergency because we don't need to," Murphy said. "We have the resources, we have the capabilities at the moment."

At an unrelated news conference at Montclair State University, Murphy said that the EPA teams, state help and ongoing city efforts are effective.

Murphy, however, does want the federal government to step in if the problem continues. Last week, he said that the state's efforts can't go on forever.

Rep. Frank Pallone of Long Branch said that the lack of federal infrastructure spending has worsened a lead crisis that extends nationwide.

"Congress and Washington have neglected the drinking water infrastructure," Pallone said. "You can go to towns in Newark, Perth Amboy, other places that I represent, New Brunswick where you have these older pipes and this is going to continue to happen."

The Department of Environmental Protection estimates there are 300,000 remaining lead service lines statewide and that it would cost $3 billion to fix them all.

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