Belleville mayor organizes lead screening clinic for residents
The mayor of Belleville has organized a way for his residents to get screened for lead contamination, amid a lead-contamination crisis in nearby Newark.
Mayor Michael Melham says that he hopes that this could help put some of his residents’ minds at ease.
“I’ve been adamant from day one that Newark's water challenge is Belleville's water challenge,” Melham says.
The mayor says that he has been asking for his residents to get what Newark residents have been getting, including water filters and bottled water provided by the state. Belleville gets its water from the same source as a portion of Newark – the Pequannock Water Treatment Plant.
“I want to make it easier for [my residents] if they want to be tested. So, we said, ‘You know what? Let’s find out if Clara Maass [Medical Center] will do this.’ We called Clara Maass and they immediately answered the phone and they said, ‘Yes we'll do it for you,’” Melham says.
Clara Maass Medical Center in Belleville has agreed to provide free lead screenings for residents, no appointment needed. Those who live in Belleville can just show up with ID, weekdays between 7:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. at the "professional building" next door to the hospital.
Melham says that his residents can also get screened at University Hospital in Newark, but he thought that they would want to go a little closer to home.
“University Hospital…you have to make an appointment…most Belleville residents would probably just prefer to stay here in Belleville,” he says.
Melham says that “at-risk” residents should get tested first. This includes children under 6 years old, the elderly and pregnant and nursing women.
Melham says he wants to assure his residents that there has been no lead contamination of the water source. The lead comes from lead water pipes leading into homes.