Newark School District receives $7.5M from federal government to remove lead
The Newark School District received millions from the Trump administration to remove lead from 66 buildings.
The $7.5 million award from the Environmental Protection Agency is the largest in the nation.
“We’re here to acknowledge that and say thank you, more than anything,” said Newark Mayor Ras Baraka.
As the Brick City nears the end to its own project to replace all lead water service lines in the city and surrounding areas, the federal government is making a separate commitment to Newark schools.
The mayor joined officials from the EPA, the Newark Board of Education and Rep. Donald Payne at Lafayette Elementary School to announce the award. The funds will be used to eliminate lead levels in Newark’s 66 schools.
“The levels are safe. This will enhance our ability to replace the infrastructure that requires the filter system and will allow us to move forward with a program of testing,” said Newark Public Schools facilities management executive director Steve Morlino.
The school district faced its own lead crisis first in 2016 with the discovery of elevated lead levels in the water at almost half of the public schools in the city.
"We randomly test every school building to make sure the lead levels are correct, they're below the standard. Anything found above the standard is shut down immediately and will not be put back into service until it is remediated,” Morlino said.
The goal of the funding now is to fully eliminate lead content in the water, though all fixture in use at the schools now are well below the federal limit of 15 parts-per-billion.
"This new funding is an important part of this administration's efforts to bolster infrastructure projects that protect public health and ensure Americans have access to clean and safe drinking water,” Jessica Kramer with the EPA.
Nine other cities in the United States will also receive funding. The EPA says that the money for the grant program will be formally awarded early next year.