Aggravated, frustrated, ticked off: Newark deals with lead contamination

Hundreds of Newark residents say that they are frustrated with the city’s response to a lead-contaminated water problem in the city.

News 12 Staff

Aug 14, 2019, 9:10 PM

Updated 1,739 days ago

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Hundreds of Newark residents say that they are frustrated with the city’s response to a lead-contaminated water problem in the city.
The residents gathered for the third day to pick up free cases of bottled water due to the health issues. Some of the cases had expired dates on them, but health officials assured them that the water was safe to drink.
“I have my expired case of water, which I will wash with but won't be cooking or ingesting,” says resident Hellane Freeman.
Taisha Spellman says that she has nine grandchildren under the age of 6 who she is worried about.
“We get the call telling us that pregnant women and children under 6 shouldn't drink [the water], but my thing is, what happens to the children over 6, you know? That’s crazy. That doesn’t even make sense,” she says.
The lead issues come from the old water pipes running throughout Newark, and not from the reservoir in which the water originated.
City officials had given the affected residents water filters to help clean the water, but tests done on three homes found that the filters may not be working as well as expected. This is when the Environmental Protection Agency urged Newark officials to give residents bottled water.
Newark Mayor Ras Baraka and Gov. Phil Murphy toured a water distribution center Wednesday, while the governor assured the residents of Newark that more would be done. But officials admit that they do not know how long the process will take.
“I don’t blame the mayor. It’s just something that’s been going on. The only thing is, Ras [Baraka], I’m sorry sweetie, but you are here right now…just fix the problem,” Spellman says.
City officials say that there are plans to replace the old lead water pipes. But they say that the project is expected to take years and cost a lot of money.
Newark residents held a rally Wednesday evening to bring more attention to the issue.


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